i know you don’t want to, but please, (Fire) Walk With Me
I know, I know. Two blogs in two days? A sign of things to come? Probably not.
I just had a brilliant idea on what to blog about post-Brick.
So, Twin Peaks is one of my favorite shows of all time. Last Summer was filled with me watching the tales of Agent Dale Cooper, as he journeyed farther and farther into the surreal world of Peaks; and like most Peaks fans, I was heartbroken with its horribly ambiguous ending.
(umm what the hell happened to Josie?!? Seriously if someone understood what that was tell me)
So then I heard about the film, “Fire Walk With Me” which is supposed to be a sequel/continuation of the show. Before I decided to watch it, I did some backtracking. I began to read about all the widespread hatred this film got, and how it in no way clarified the ambiguous conclusion of the show.
Seriously, an enormous booing at the Cannes Festival is the equivalent of the kiss of death. Man those french guys are touchy. Poor Sofia Coppola found this out the extremely hard way.
When I heard all of these things, it completely turned me off to the idea of viewing this film. I had only seen a couple of Lynch films aside from Twin Peaks (Mulholland Drive, Blue Velvet, regrettably Dune, and Eraserhead), and the idea of his surreal approach to feature films made me cringe at the idea of putting more of his style into the Twin Peaks universe. So, I shoved Fire Walk With Me (will now be called “Walk”) away, and said to myself I would never watch it…
So, I watched it last week.
Now that I’ve finally subjected myself to Walk, I have to admit, I really did not mind the film. I don’t know if it was just the fact that I had this mentality that it was going to suck or more so the fact that I was expecting more of a Lynch approach to it than the show; but either way I really did enjoy Walk more-so than I thought I would.
I will admit the film does have its obvious flaws, but sometimes I found myself rather enjoying the flaws, if that makes any sense.
So without further ado, let’s get started.
So, the main problem with Walk is the way it opens. We instantly realize that this will not be a film all about the Peaks characters we have gotten to know and love. This is simply a film that will take place in the same universe. Lynch did not make a sequel, so much as a “what-quel”. Being that we bounce into the Black Lodge, which comes off as a timeless place, we are treated to various time-frames of the show which can come off as extremely confusing to the more casual viewers of Peaks.
But anyways when we open, we are experiencing the case of the first victim of BOB, Teresa Banks. Teresa was only briefly mentioned in the pilot of Twin Peaks as to a character that had a similar fate to Laura Palmer. Only problem is that this case is being led by Chester Desmond and his new partner, Sam (Keifer Sutherland?!?) instead of Agent Cooper who supposedly investigated Bank’s murder. Their tale of investigating Banks’ killer feels both similar yet different compared to Cooper’s investigation of Laura Palmer. Both agents act vastly different from Coop, but Lynch still makes it’s apparent that this is all taking place in the same universe via uses of music, dialogue, and odd imagery.
The biggest shame that comes from this part of the Walk story is that we don’t get to stick with these characters too often. I was honestly interested in this investigation of Teresa Banks and the new duo of Sam and Chester was enticing. It had that old Twin Peaks feel, but still felt new and fresh enough that I wasn’t becoming too bored, or wondering when in the hell was I going to see a familiar face.
But, just like that Agent Desmond vanishes, and the reluctant Dale Cooper has to step in as the lead for ten minutes.
Being that Kyle MacLachlan felt he was being typecast, he begged Lynch to minimize his role as much as possible, resulting in his half-assed cameo appearance.
After getting one of the most random David Bowie appearances (blink and you miss it) on this side of the galaxy, Dale steps in where Desmond left off. Cooper briefly investigates Desmond’s disappearance and figured the cause being a ring bearing the symbol of the Black & White Lodges (Desmond in the Black Lodge?). Also written on Desmond’s car was the word “Let’s Rock” which was said by The Man from Another Place during an episode of the show, which further supports Desmond went to the lodge.
He then deducts whoever killed Banks will kill again, and has an eerie premonition about Laura. Which jumps us into TWIN PEAKS.
Lynch uses the original theme song to give you a feeling of nostalgia, and now this two-part movie shifts its focus to Laura, as we see her in the final week of her life.
Now many people feel that loosing the show’s brand of humor is really what drags this movie down, but I feel that being that this is much more touchy subject matter, I can understand why Lynch made this as dark and brooding as humanly possible. The problem is that sometimes it can be too dark. One example is a club scene in which there is a ton of unnecessary nudity and almost makes the film an exploitation of the characters (another exploitation of a character being Donna’s recasting).
Even though some of the scenes can get a tad too surreal (such as the magician boy becoming a monkey), the performances of Ray Wise and Sheryl Lee really are able to carry this movie on their own. The story of Leland’s further descent into BOB and Laura’s insanity is just a brilliant thing to experience. You feel Laura’s terror in realizing that her father is BOB, and you further see deeper into this world of the Black Lodge.
Now the BIG problem that I have with this part of Walk is that even though we see how terrifying and awful Laura’s life had become, Lynch STILL does not explain why Laura has these insane mood swings. There are parts of the film where Laura is a scared innocent girl who has made a lot of wrong decisions, then there are others where she is a very promiscuous lover to say the least.
Lynch doesn’t bother to take the time to explain to us why she has these mood swings or what is the drive behind them. I get that she is very damaged goods, and drugged out on cocaine, but I still refuse to believe those are big enough motivators to get her to change moods at the drop of the hat. This flaw overall is what really buries down this part of the film. You get too distracted at the visceral side of Laura to really care about how her world is closing in on her. More-so the entire opening (as much as I loved it) really delays the major aspect of the film, which is Laura.
Walk really did not need the Banks segment. It would have made for a great bottle episode of Peaks, but it does not hold well against Laura’s entire story. The way they shoe-horn in Banks murder with Laura’s murder is hilariously convenient and yet again distracts you from the important parts of the film.
Overall, I truly think Fire Walk With Me is worth watching if you’re a fan of Twin Peaks. If you go in with the right mentality, and the knowledge that you still won’t be satisfied with a conclusion-less plot of Cooper’s tale, then you will enjoy this story from the universe. It is filled with all those insane visuals and backwards dialogue most Twin Peaks fans love, and the random 30-second cameos from various characters of the show should be enough to satisfy fans.
Again, the part 1 story about Teresa Banks should have been its own TV movie, with much more content. It took away from Laura’s death, and left you wanting more stories in the universe non-Palmer related.
And even though I do enjoy this film a lot, I still agree with most fans that it was a cop out to Lynch just concluding the show. This was his best opportunity to do so, and because of its notorious failure at the box office and with critics, he retired the Twin Peaks brand leaving all his fans unsatisfied and lost in a haze of surrealism, and red curtains.
(Fire) Walk away with this, supposedly there are over two and a half hours of deleted footage lying somewhere. Supposedly one of them is a continuation of the ending of season two. Frost is hoping they could include a big portion of these scenes on the blu ray release of the series. So fingers crossed!