Hot take incoming, fuck David Lynch. Favorite “auteur” of insufferable pseuds around the globe, David Lynch is truly the best demonstration for the principle that volatility does not equal mystery.
Lynch seems to think that if you pack enough clueless, mentally deranged and deeply disturbed characters doing enough deranged and disturbing things into two hours you have yourself a bonafide “psychological thriller”. What you actually get with Lynch is some sort of mishmash of fucked up characters and ideas that makes absolutely no sense and has no larger meaning beyond making you go “Oh wow, that’s strange.” Lynch fans love to call people who don’t worship him dumb, and not “enlightened” or “intellectual” enough to find deeper meaning in what is essentially pretentious shock-value. Look buddy, I like to stare at Laura Dern writhe around as much as the next guy, but there’s a limit.
There might be an argument to be made in favor of Lynch’s dreamy, stream-of-consciousness narratives from an “art-house” (whatever the hell that means) perspective, but there is nothing there for the viewer. It almost seems like a megalomaniacal effort, to create something that makes sense to nobody but you. The man didn’t shoot a film with a completed screenplay until 2006’s Inland Empire! If you’re going to claim that your story makes any sense or has any thoughtful meaning beyond whatever you felt like at any instance during production, maybe write a fucking script before you start making the goddamn film! To Lynch, atmosphere building means stuffing in an abundance of naked fat women and strange, mentally disturbed men as background characters.
Leave alone my expectations of a coherent plot, can we talk about Lynch’s weird fascination with bizarre violence and sexual deviancy? There are always some fucking wierdo rapists / general deviants, who get extremely and unpredictably violent, while maintaining an “aura of mystery” achieved by just being strange creeps. I’m honestly clueless as to what Lynch tries to do with these characters.
Don’t get me started on the violence. Lynch has some strange, strange ideas of blood and guts. I’m sure you could write volumes upon volumes on how nonsensical Lynch’s use of violence is. Sure, I’ll concede that it is absolutely gnarly to so frequently see people still conscious with their brains half damaged, stumbling about mumbling, but it is so out of place and pointless, it just makes you question why you’re being shown it. Wild at Heart (1990), contains scenes of a man being beaten until there’s a fist sized hole in his head, a man accidentally blasting his head off with a shotgun, with the head somehow staying intact but detaching from his neck, shooting into the air bringing the man’s esophagus with it, and another man writhing around in his own blood searching for his shot-off hand, which has been repossessed by a cute, hungry dog.
It just doesn’t make sense. It’s almost comical. In fact, it is comical. If David Lynch had made The Room, and just thrown in a few exploding body parts and strange hallucinations, they would’ve hailed it as a masterpiece for years. You know what? I think Lynch might be one of the greatest comedic directors out there.
Final thoughts: I hate to contradict myself, but David Lynch really is a master of cinema, and the only valid way to appreciate him is to go “Huh, that’s fucking weird”. It’s simply just absurdist comedy.