TWIN PEAKS : FIRE WALK WITH ME directed by David Lynch (USA, 1992)

If Dune is David Lynch’s prize turkey, Fire Walk With Me, follows as a close second. It is significant that neither are included in the ‘select filmography’ in ‘Catching The Big Fish’, Lynch’s collection of anecdotal reflections on meditation, consciousness and creativity published in 2006.

After two seasons of Twin Peaks on TV, the plug was unceremoniously pulled by the network in 1991 to leave a sense of unfinished business. But much as I loved the show, the recent announcement that a new Showtime miniseries with Lynch at the helm is in the pipeline fills me with more trepidation than excitement. 25 years on, it will be tough to replicate the subtlety and surreal humour that made the small screen version so compelling

Further cause for concern stems from the dire movie spin-off of Fire Walk With Me. The wayward plot focuses on the events leading up to the murder of Laura Palmer leaving a trail of loose ends in its wake.

The movie substitutes cheap horror and seedy sex for anything more considered. Overall, you are left with the distinct impression that it is little more than an elaborate cut and paste job of half-conceived ideas. A bizarre cameo by David Bowie is one of many sequences that serve little purpose.

Lynch himself reprises the unfunny role of the partially deaf FBI chief Gordon Cole who shouts all his lines. Disappointingly, agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachian) doesn’t appear for the first half hour and takes only a minor role in the story. This leaves Laura Palmer to carry the plot, something which only serves to highlight the limitations of Sheryl Lee’s acting ability.

bangbangbarSome scenes work well, notably an extended sequence in The Bang Bang Bar in which Laura and her friend Donna dance and flirt with a bunch of predatory men. Loud rock music all but drowns out the dialogue as the atmospheres switches from playful to sinister. Aside from this, the movie is so self-consciously ‘weird’ that is becomes embarrassingly dull.

It was justifiably panned on release although it was apparently big in Japan and widely admired in France. I remember being excited about seeing it in London’s Camden Plaza when it first came out and left feeling bemused and cheated by the experience. Watching it again merely confirms how bad it is.

UK film critic, Mark Kermode is in a minority of those prepared to publically defend the movie. He goes so far as to claim that it is a misunderstood masterpiece, a notion that is frankly laughable.

Dune was a disaster but at least it had a good consequence in that Lynch thereafter vowed never again to make a movie unless he was given the final cut.

In contrast , Fire Walk With Me is something of an aberration, a movie with no heart or passion and few redeeming qualities.

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