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Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me
Reviewed by
Simon Black
on
Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me Blu-ray Review. I’m not sure I can agree with those critics who declared Fire Walk With Me to be Lynch’s best film, nor does it rival the near-perfection of Season One, but for fans of the series, not to mention the absurd, it’s a must-see. 
Rating:
3.5

Feature 7.5
Video 8.5
Audio 8.5
Special Features 4.0
Total 7.0

Distributor: Madman
Running Time: 135 Minutes
Reviewer: Simon Black
Classification
: R18+

7.0


Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me

For those of us inclined toward such lofty matters, it’s interesting to read about television trends of the decades preceding 1990, the year of Twin Peaks’ airing.  For the majority of the medium’s existence prior to the appearance of this ground-breaking series the trend had been almost exclusively for safe, conventional programming, however during the 1980s television finally ‘caught up’ with other artistic media, placing a new emphasis on innovation and surprise as essential elements in maintaining not only a show’s integrity but an audience’s attention.  The notion of quirkiness became, in the words of one commentator, ‘not just an adjective but an objective’ and after a number of noted film directors such as Michael Mann and Steven Spielberg successfully made the transition to television in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the medium was no longer regarded merely as cinema’s intellectually vapid step-sibling, the ‘idiot box’ or the ‘boob tube’, but as a viable critical and artistic entity in its own right. 

By 1990 the timing was ripe, to an extent that would perhaps never be replicated, for an auteur like Lynch to bring his unique stylistic sensibilities to the small screen.  Twin Peaks, at least during its first season, both beguiled and enchanted audiences, and the revolutionary and wilfully unconventional nature of the work, as well as its protracted use of parody, pastiche, surrealism and non sequitors, continues to influence television output to this day. 

By the show’s second season, however, the lustre seems to have worn off somewhat.  Lynch’s influence over the series declined, there were scripting and plotting issues (ABC demanded, for instance, that Lynch reveal the identity of Laura Palmer’s killer late in Season 2, a move he never intended on making) and a subsequent drop in both audience interest and viewership.  Around the time his seminal series was sputtering to an ignominious end, Lynch made the somewhat eccentric decision to start work a Twin Peaks prequel movie, and Fire Walk With Me was born.

The project got off to a shaky start.  Several of the series’ principal cast members refused to take part, and even those who showed up expressed reservations over what they perceived as a drastic decline in quality from the first season.  The end result wildly polarised audiences and critics alike when it premiered at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival, with Quentin Tarantino famously declaring David Lynch had ‘disappeared up his own ass,’ and continues to divide viewers to this day, with some passionately claiming it as a brilliant and even defining addition to the director’s canon and others just as loudly decrying it as a pretentious, messy and occasionally grotesque.

Fire Walk With Me is a difficult film to critique, let alone assign a score out of 10.  For my money the film marks the point at which David Lynch lost the ability to discern between idiosyncrasy and just plain idiocy, and many of the subversive conventions and devices utilised within the series itself are employed in a way that seems self-conscious at best, pointlessly overindulgent at worst.  Though there are an equal amount of positives: Lynch’s cinematography is again sublime, the ensemble cast which includes Moira Kelly, Sheryl Lee, Chris Isaak, David Bowie, Heather Graham and of course Kyle ‘Special Agent Cooper’ MacLachlan all uniformly hit their marks and, providing one is willing to immerse one’s consciousness into its unrelenting two hour motif of surrealist shenanigans, there is plenty of enjoyment to be gleaned, particularly for those looking to round out the series proper with a fuller insight into the life and character of Laura Palmer et al.  I’m not sure I can agree with those critics who declared Fire Walk With Me to be Lynch’s best film, nor does it rival the near-perfection of Season One, but for fans of the series, not to mention the absurd, it’s a must-see. 

Special Features

In addition to a pristine 16:9 1080p transfer and robust DTS-HD 5.1 soundtrack, Madman’s new Blu-ray edition includes the original 1992 Electronic Press Kit, which comprises a featurette, actor clips, cast interviews and a trailer.  The whole runs just under 20 minutes, with the interviews interspersed throughout the most worthwhile aspect of the feature.






 
 



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