Thursday, May 25, 2017

I’ll See You Again in 25 Years, or Thoughts on David Lynch and Twin Peaks

A David Lynch movie has always been more about mood and tone than traditional narrative, and his TV series Twin Peaks is no different.  Learning who killed Laura Palmer was never the point of Twin Peaks; it was a quirky and surreal labyrinth deliberately intended to the viewer and carry the audience to a dark place.  The fact that these familiar and now nostalgic and sentimental characters and scenes inhabit a murder mystery is secondary, and a distraction. 
However David Lynch’s mid-century style, dialogue and juxtaposition of beauty and violence also reveals a disturbing trend of misogyny that has become more prevalent in his later films.  The brutality of someone like Frank Booth or Bill can now be fully realized in high definition; you don’t have to imply anything, you can show it.  That’s not necessarily a good thing when you’ve built your career around exploring darkness; there’s a subtlety and nuance that will be lost amidst all the beatings and headless miss-matched corpses.  We’re not finding ears in the park anymore, we’re finding whole heads; and that amped up savagery is reflecting our cultural climate, what we see in the news, and our world view.

It’s great to catch up with Dale Cooper and Sheriff Truman; it’s nice to see Lucy still working at the Sheriff’s office after 27 years and even Angelo Badlamenti’s haunting theme song returns.  Season 3 picks up where Season 2 left off; time doesn’t pass in the Red Room, but it does for us, and TV has caught up in terms of presenting more complex narratives and finding audiences to appreciate them.  There are so many TV shows that owe their inspiration to the 1990 series, including The X-Files, Lost, and True Detective.  In many ways modern audiences are more patient and able to appreciate a third season of Twin Peaks, but understand that by design you will get no answers, and will only be left with more questions.

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