Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992)
Director: David Lynch
Sheryl Lee/ Laura
This prequel to the cult TV show explores Laura Palmer’s (Lee) last days before her imminent death and plastic wrapping motif. Damn...baby led a messed up life! What ever happened to just going shopping and hitting some of that homework?? Witness the downfall of High School sweetheart Laura Palmer.
"Faster and faster, until after a while you wouldn't FEEL anything; and then your body would just burst into FIRE. And the angels' wouldn't help you, cause they've all gone away... " - Laura Palmer
David Lynch won the Golden Palm at Cannes in 1990 for "Wild At Heart". Two years later, he was heavily booed for "Twin Peaks Walk With Me" at the same festival, competing in the same category. Funny how shite goes. It took me a long time and many viewings to figure out how I felt about the ever-so-fucked-up "Fire Walk With Me". Today, I can firmly say that it is a daring, poignant and solid film.
What alienated the average viewers and critics from this baby was most likely its strangeness, harshness and penchant for high symbolism. They just didn’t get it and I don’t blame them! The flick definitely isn’t for everybody, Lynch’s work in general is an acquired taste. Here, Lynch once more doesn’t play fair and drops us into a world which only he probably fully comprehends. It took me 8 viewings of this trip to understand 90 percent of it and I went through basic training beforehand (I followed the TV show)! If you’re going to watch this somber ride, check the show out first as a brain warm up…trust me on that one, you’re going to need it!
The film’s weakest link is definitely its first half hour. It introduces deadpan Special Agent Desmond (Isaac) into the game but in the end leaves his subplot hanging high and dry. That frustrated me. Dale Cooper’s half-assed cameo also left me unsatisfied; I would’ve rather he not be in the film at all. His presence felt forced and his “dream’ tie to Laura (Lee) unnecessary. The first half hour is actually the hardest segment to understand but is somewhat important if you want to see the whole picture behind this tale. After so much time spent on it, I now get most of its ingredients and how they’re related to the bulk of the movie. I even "capiche" the whole vanishing David Bowie act! That’s a freaking feat! On the plus side, the first half hour does offer us some fine moments of humor (the Sheriff Office scene cracked my ass up) and some witty dialogue. This is as close as the film gets to the Twin Peaks TV show. The lightness is dropped when we’re introduced to the torn Laura Palmer (Lee). That’s when the REAL nightmare begins.
Where the TV show was subtle, quirky and all about peeling away the layers, Laura’s journey is brutal and in your face. Lynch throws sexual decadence, heavy drug use and bloody violence our way with unrepentant glee. Actually I heard that the first frame of the film (a TV being smashed) is a symbolic message from Lynch to the viewers, saying: THIS WILL NOT BE THE TV SHOW. Got it loud and clear duder! But for all of its weirdness, peeking monkeys, fat Canadians, dudes named Buck and hopping boys with plaster masks, the core of Fire Walk With Me is not only a strong character driven piece in respect to Laura, but also a true horror flick that utilizes the themes of child abuse and one girl’s struggle with gradual revelations to drive it. Subsequently, the flick becomes a possession flick. A multi-layered one but still a possession flick. If you approach the film from that angle, you might be able to grasp it more.
Which brings me to the human element of the movie: Laura Palmer. Props to Sheryl Lee for being the glue that holds this hallucinogenic wave together (for me anyways). She gives an astounding performance, displaying a wide range of emotions and mucho of courage. She tackles vulnerable, sexy, slutty, bitchy, hysterical, afraid, sad…you name it, Sheryl goes through it! It must have been a taxing shoot on the actress. Why this girl wasn’t nominated for an Oscar, I still don’t know. Having Laura be such a drawn out character gave me an anchor to hold on to through this Lynch-made, mind-bending maze. I fell in love with her and was alongside her through her entire journey.
In the end, I was entranced by "Fire Walk With Me" on an emotional, visual and gut level. Of course, finally understanding most of it really made a difference. There’s so much to love here! Be it the stylish and unconventional set pieces (loved the strobe lights, hedonistic bar scene), the dream-like settings (the Julie Cruise bar scene is one for the books), the alternate dimensions (all about that backwards talking midget) and the hardcore horror elements (the painting sequence, the fan and BOB gave me the brrrs). I was totally hypnotized. Twin Peaks, my friends, is one fucked up town! Let's move there!
We get an icky torn off nail, a gooey gunshot blast to the head, some bloody beatings and some off-screen stabbings. The violence is fairly disturbing.
Sheryl Lee (Laura) gives the performance of a lifetime. She’s 100% in every scene and I can’t express enough at how impressed I was with her. WOW! Moira Kelly (Donna) does fine as Laura’s best friend but I did miss Lara Flynn Boyle (who played Donna on the show). Ray Wise (Leland) is captivating; he hits all the right notes and gives a very entertaining show. I love the guy! Dana Ashbrook (Bobby) does what he has to do with the screen time that he’s given. I appreciated his groovy dance number in front of the school. James Marshall (James) does what he does best…brood. Kyle McClachlan (Cooper) doesn’t have much to do here but say his lines. I enjoyed Chris Isaac’s (Desmond) presence. His delivery is awesome! Kiefer Sutherland (Sam) plays against type as the bumbling agent and I bought it. Frank Silva (Bob) is one dirty, scary looking bastard. That’s a good thing!
T & A
Sheryl Lee (Laura) goes topless on more than one occasion here and she also has killer legs. Moira Kelly (Donna) also drops her top and we get a couple of more topless broads courtesy of the bar scene as a bonus. The ladies get squat. James Marshall (James) doesn’t lose his Levis.
The content of the flick might sport its fair share of ugliness, but Lynch wraps it all in a coating of high style that has to be seen to be believed. This guy is a genius! I loved his play with levels when it came to sounds and images. Talk about trippy stuff! Add to that creative lighting, strong moments of tension, a novel pace and dead-on slow motion and you get one hell of a visual feast. Who needs drugs when you have David Lynch movies?
Lynch regular Angelo Badalamenti returns to give us another one of his solid scores. The music is very important in this film. Julie Cruise also shows up to sing “Question in a World of Blue” and I lapped up every second of it. I love her stuff!
Distributor: New Line Home Entertainment
February 26, 2002
IMAGE: We get a anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1 ratio version of the film. The image is mostly sharp and clear but we do get the occasional grain…I said occasional...
SOUND: We get a DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 option. Is it me or was the music too loud at times and the dialogue too low? I jerked my remote control on more than one occasion.
EXTRAS: Lynch filmed about 5 hours of footage for this flick and NONE of those scenes show up on this DVD. Major freaking letdown yo! Here’s what we get instead.
Original Documentary “Reflections on the phenomenon of Twin Peaks”: This half hour documentary did manage to hold my interest. It was awesome to see most of the cast talk about their experiences on the show, their disappointments in regards to the movie and having their scenes cut out, David Lynch’s directing methods, the Theatre and sharing little known facts about what went on behind the scenes. It felt like I was re-visiting old friends. The only drawback here is that whoever edited this thing, felt the need to be “creative”, overdoing it with the “kooky” cuts. I just want to ear the cast talk dude, easy on the freaking “witty” editing yo!
We also get the Theatrical Trailer…and that’s it, that’s all. This DVD could’ve been so much more, I expect a SPECIAL EDITION with the REAL goodies to pop out eventually. NOTE: why was the animated menu silent, where was my Angelo Badalamenti background score??? This DVD disappointed me.
MY ADVICE: Twin Peak fans, stop looking for the TV show in respect to the film and appreciate it for what it is. Non-Twin Peaks fans, watch the show to familiarize yourself with the characters and the overall feel of the setting before hitting this LSD piece of celluloid. I’m happy that I stuck with this movie for so long and watched it so many times before putting my opinion about it out there. There’s so much symbolism in this film, so much going on and I don’t think it’s fair to judge it on one viewing. If you’re in the mood for a flick that steps outside the norm, challenges your intellect, touches you on a human level, oozes of atmosphere and pushes the envelope, hit this one hard. One more thing…good luck!
Rumor has it that Lara Flynn Boyle didn’t reprise her part of Donna because she didn’t want to do the nudity.
Lynch shot approximately 5 hours of footage on TPFWWM. Most of the scenes involving the beloved main characters from the show wound up on the cutting room floor. Here’s a list of the characters that got cut out of the final print: Ed and Nadine Hurley-Doc and Eileen Hayward -Josie Packard -Sheriff Truman -Deputy Hawk Andy Brennen- Lucy Moran- Ben, Jerry, Sylvia and Johnny Horne- Pete Martell- Major and Betty Briggs- Toad the Trucker- Dr. Jakoby .
Rumor has it that the Region 2 French DVD version of FWWM will contain the deleted scenes that are not on this DVD.