Mulholland Dr. (2001)

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Released 2-Jul-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Dolby Digital Trailer-Egypt
Interviews-Crew-David Lynch
Featurette-Cannes Festival - Press Conference - Highlights
Theatrical Trailer
Easter Egg-David Lynch's 10 Clues...Unlocking Mulholland Drive
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 140:46
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (69:54) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Lynch
Studio
Distributor
Alain Sarde
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Justin Theroux
Naomi Watts
Laura Elena Harring
Ann Miller
Robert Forster
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Angelo Badalamenti


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    A long black limousine slowly works its way along a winding road in the hills above Los Angeles late in the evening. In the back rides an elegant woman dressed in black. Abruptly, the limo pulls to the side of the road and one of the men in the front seat orders the woman from the car at gunpoint. Before the woman can exit, the car is hit by a car of drag-racing youths and all are killed...except for the elegantly-dressed woman (played by Laura Elena Harring: John Q: 2002, Little Nicky: 2000, Sunset Beach television series: 1997) . Dazed by the impact and suffering from concussion, the woman staggers from the wreckage and after staring at the lights of the city, stumbles from the roadside towards the city with an empty look on her face. Once she reaches the outer suburbs, she seeks refuge on the doorstep of a group of apartments and there she passes out. After waking, the elegantly-dressed woman watches as an older woman loads several suitcases from her apartment into a waiting taxi. While the older woman is loading luggage, the elegant woman secretly enters the apartment and hides. The older woman locks the apartment and leaves.

    Betty (Naomi Watts: The Ring: out November 2002, Tank Girl: 1995, Gross Misconduct: 1993, Home and Away television series 1991) has come to The City of Angels with stars in her eyes and a dream to make it in the movies. She has come down from Canada and has been offered her aunt's apartment while the aunt in turn goes to Canada to shoot a film. Arriving in Los Angeles, Betty takes a cab from the airport to her aunt's apartment. It is more than she could have ever expected and she is excited to be in not only such a beautiful home, but in the City of Dreams as well. But the apartment is not empty and neither Betty nor the other occupant knows who's there.

    This is the briefest of plot synopses, as to say any more would give away too much. Even the back cover of the disc gives away little in the way of plot for this film. This is a relief as this is one movie that you will want to go into without any preconceptions. Please bear that in mind as the above synopsis is but a very brief outline of the very beginning of the movie.

    There is a sort of wide-eyed wonderment that you feel when you watch a David Lynch movie. David likes to take his audience on a journey to destinations unknown. In this, he never fails to disappoint. Vague comparisons could be made between David Lynch and Paul Thomas Anderson, as both immediately take you on a trip that goes in many different directions at the same time with many story threads that cross and intersect unpredictably. The main difference is that while the Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia: 2000, Boogie Nights: 1997) picture will take you on a trip of highs and lows, the David Lynch picture seems to take the viewer on a descent into despair and foreboding. He does this very well in this movie as the road you begin to travel on never quite ends up where you think it will.

    This film originally had its genesis as a pilot for ABC (America) in 1999. After ABC executives saw the finished pilot, they deemed it too dark and unbackable and so David Lynch reworked the unused pilot and with about 20 minutes worth of reshot footage and a reedited film, it was released theatrically. The performances here don't flag its television pilot origin with the main cast well chosen and all doing a first rate job in their roles. We also have quite a list of what would have been called "Special Guest Stars" in the 70s including Marcus Graham (star of the Australian television series Good Guys, Bad Guys and US series Sins of the City)Melissa George (star of the Australian television series Home and Away and also seen in the 1998 Alex Proyas film Dark City) and Billy Ray Cyrus, responsible for the early 90s worldwide hit Achy Breaky Heart.

    The one thing that this film demands is attention. David Lynch films are usually like this and with such attention one is usually rewarded for their efforts. This film definitely rewards the attentive viewer and multiple viewings reveal more layers of the story; something that this reviewer would definitely recommend.

    Director David Lynch actually lists clues that one should look for during the feature. These are listed inside the DVD cover and are called:

David Lynch's 10 Clues to Unlocking the Thrills of MULHOLLAND DRIVE

  1. Pay particular attention in the beginning of the film: at least two clues are revealed before the credits.
  2. Notice appearances of the red lampshade.
  3. Can you hear the title of the film that Adam Kesher is auditioning actresses for? Is is mentioned again?
  4. An accident is a terrible event... notice the location of the accident.
  5. Who gives a key, and why?
  6. Notice the robe, the ashtray, the coffee cup.
  7. What is felt, realized and gathered at the club Silencio?
  8. Did talent alone help Camilla?
  9. Note the occurrences surrounding the man behind Winkies.
  10. Where is Aunt Ruth?

    These are provided by the director as a sort of vaguely laid trail for the viewer to use to help make the film more understandable. Multiple viewings and the clues help you along the way, but are not totally necessary for enjoyment of the film.

    As is the case with much of director David Lynch's work, this film is not for everyone. Some may find the symbolism and imagery irritating and confusing. They may also find the storylines unfollowable, so beware, this film is not light going. Still, if you are up for a challenging film that will make you think rather than a film where you turn your brain off, then this may just be the movie for you. I had this film running in my head for days. It is a serious film that rewards the diligent viewer. Highly recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    We have a good quality video transfer here with a few minor niggling problems, but nothing to really discount the value of the disc.

    The transfer is in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. Given that this was originally meant to be shown as a television series, the 1.85:1 framing works just fine, even on the small screen.

    The transfer to disc has gone fairly well with a couple of exceptions. First of all, the sharpness of the transfer is fine. Most of the shots are quite clean and clear with everything that should be able to be seen clearly visible. There is a minor amount of edge enhancement that is at times noticeable (see 19:49 and 46:54 for examples), but this does not detract unduly from one's enjoyment of the film. There is also some softness of image during some of the early shots of Betty. These seem to be intentional and are part of the film rather than an artefact. Shadow detail is quite good during this feature with darker scenes very viewable and clear (see 7:18 for example). Low level noise is no problem with this title, but there is a minor tapestry-like effect to be seen on the red wall at 16:58. This type of artefact is visible several times, but again, is not too distracting and probably unnoticeable if you aren't looking for it.

    Colour during this feature is very good. Director David Lynch has an eye for subtlety and vibrancy where required during the film. This DVD has no problem in presenting these attributes accurately.

    MPEG artefacts are not a bane of this title, but they can be seen to a minor extent at 5:23 in the cloud of smoke. Aliasing is a very minor issue with this transfer and is seldom visible. There are very few film artefacts to be seen on this DVD with the transfer to disc quite clear and free from all but the most minute specks.

    A single set of English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles are present on this DVD. They are adequate enough to convey the meaning of the on-screen dialogue, but are not word for word.

    This disc is RSDL-formatted with the layer change placed at 69:54. Note that as per the director's request, there are no chapter stops on this DVD.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    A single English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track is present on this DVD.

    Dialogue quality is very good throughout this feature with the spoken word understandable at all times. Audio sync is accurate throughout this picture with no sync issues detected.

    The music is by Angelo Badalamenti (who also plays the mafia Don-type Luigi Castigliani in the film). It is not overly dramatic or complex but rather is atmospheric in nature. The soundtrack helps convey the sense of foreboding and some sort of enigmatic impending doom. Much of the soundtrack consists of a low rumbling that has the effect of making the viewer just that little bit more unsettled, just as the director would have intended.

    The surround channels are used quite sparingly with most of the soundstage being forward-oriented and spread between the front three channels. Other than an atmospheric role, the surrounds are not often required.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    We are presented with a reasonably small set of extras.

Menu

    After the usual Village Roadshow titles and classification notices, we are presented with the main menu. Our options are:     The main menu is presented at 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. Music from the soundtrack loops in the background and repeats every 1 minute until a selection is made.

    The special features menu offers the following:

David Lynch Interview: 3:52

    Recorded at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, this interview by a heavily-accented Frenchman is short and offers little insight into either the director or the film. Presented at 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced with a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack, this seems to be offered for novelty value only.

Cannes Festival-Press Conference-Highlights: 10:52

    This is an edited down version of a press conference during the Cannes Film Festival in 2001. Representing the film are the main actors (Naomi Watts, Laura Harring and Justin Theroux) along with the director and executive producer Pierre Edelman. This is also fairly short and sweet with a couple of questions being asked by the media and an unnamed moderator. It covers some interesting topics, but unfortunately just skims over topics that would normally be covered more fully in a commentary, which this title is sadly lacking. This feature is presented at 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced with a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack.

Theatrical Trailer: 1:38

    This presents the film as being far more accessible than it really is. This energetic trailer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded.

Easter Egg:  David Lynch's 10 Clues to Unlocking the Thrills of MULHOLLAND DRIVE

    This menu can be reached by selecting the Special Features menu of the DVD. Once on the first selection of the Special Features which is the David Lynch Interview, press the left key on the DVD player's remote. This will highlight a blue key in the upper left hand corner of the screen. Press Enter/Select and you will be taken to a feature that lists the director's clues to understanding the film. There is a short section of menu animation and the title of the special feature before the screens are available. You can select Back or Next to navigate through the 10 clues. This feature is presented at 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced and the audio is in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There are several different versions of this DVD available worldwide. Here are the details of each as they are available today:

Region 1:

Region 2 France:

Region 2 UK

Region 2 Netherlands (2 Disc Set)
Disc 1:

Trailers:
Disc 2:


Region 3 Korea (NTSC, Region Coded 0)

Region 4

     No details are avalable on discs from Regions 5 or 6.

     While the omission of a dts track on the Region 4 disc will be of supreme annoyance to many, its importance may be of limited value with this title as the Dolby Digital 5.1 track works very well. This feature is a showcase of filmmaking and not an audio-visual tour de force such as Gladiator where a dts track is far more important. The range of discs available around the globe is starting to give fans of this film a wide range of choices as to what features they might find interesting. There are some MPEG compression problems associated with the French and Dutch versions of the film, but both (especially the Dutch version) offer a large range of extra features. It is starting to get to the point where I might recommend multiple versions of this disc. The transfer quality of the Region 4 disc is good, but there isn't a huge range of extras available. Still, if you are in Region 4, I'd have no problem recommending the R4 disc, however, if dts is the be all and end all for you, then you may have to go for the U.S. or Dutch discs. I'll continue to try and bring the details of the various discs available worldwide as the come to hand.

Summary

    Mulholland Dr. is a very engaging film with a story that will haunt you for days, and not in a "one joke" fashion such as a movie like The Sixth Sense does, but in a much deeper, darker and more profound way.

    The video is fine with good clarity and a few minor transfer problems. Eminently watchable.

    The audio is forward-oriented with a clean sound and not much in the way of rear effect other than atmospheric surround sound.

    The extras are fairly thin but include more than the R1 version. The omission of the dts track is a niggling negative factor.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Sean Bradford (There is no bio.)
Saturday, June 01, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic A300-MU, using S-Video output
DisplayHitachi CP-L750W LCD Projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V2090
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

Other Reviews
Jeff K's Australian DVD Info Site - Wayne F
DVD Net - Anthony H (read my bio)
region4dvd.net - Darren R (read my bio (fun for the whole family))
The DVD Bits - Damien M
Web Wombat - James A

Comments (Add)
Mulholland Drive questions answered. - Stephen W (read my bio)
answers to mulholland drive not needed - orangecat (my kingdom for a decent bio)
DTS track rocks - Eric.b REPLY POSTED
Home page comments..... - Alex H (My biography...in 500 words or less!) REPLY POSTED
R1 DTS - i wasnt really impressed - Doctor (Biometric Readout) REPLY POSTED
Special features around the World (this should be added to the review) - Doctor (Biometric Readout) REPLY POSTED
The Dutch release is PAL, has DTS and a disc of extras (again this should be added to the review): - Bradavon REPLY POSTED
I forgot to add: - Bradavon
Mulholland "Drive" not "Dr." - mmj REPLY POSTED
Mulholland Drive....more, but different, answers. - TurkeyTom