I don’t think I’ve ever had to think so much about a movie before watching Mulholland Dr. My interpretation of it is still pretty vague; watching this movie multiple times seems necessary to catch all the little details for further comprehension. I think the classical interpretation answers the biggest questions in a reasonable manner, such as how the characters of Betty and Rita are related to Diane and Camilla. I don’t think they can be in the same realm of time since they’re different characters, so the beginning of the movie being a dream seems pretty logical. After reading quite a bit of the other theories though, I felt like a few of them could answer some of the smaller parts of the movie.
For instance, “the old couple represent Adam and Camilla” theory seems very likely. For some reason the old couple’s behavior and presence in the movie stuck out to me in the beginning, and again towards the end of the movie when they showed up in miniature form. After leaving Betty at the airport, the scene where they were laughing mischievously in the limo struck me as seemingly parallel to the later scene of Adam and Camilla at the dinner table laughing together, at what seems to be directed to rubbing it in Diane’s face. Then, at the end of the movie, when the old couple shows up again and basically haunts Diane to her suicide appears to me to show her guilty conscience in having Adam and Camilla killed before they could ever reach old age together. This theory does, however, only fit if one of the other theories is accurate, which is that the hitman Diane hired killed both Adam and Camilla. What a doozy.
I also liked the idea that “Diane projects herself as Rita.” Since we gather from the story that Camilla is the famous Hollywood starlet, and Diane is overlooked and undervalued as an actress, it could be plausible that she dreams of being Camilla/Rita. Because Rita has no memory, this may also reflect Diane’s desire to forget her past misfortunes and guilt if she did have Camilla killed. She also has the purse full of money, which is identical to the purse of money Diane gives to the hitman at the diner.
According to Mittell, narrative complexity essentially means an unconventional approach to storytelling. It also allows a broader spectrum for “creative opportunities and palette of audience responses” (Mittell 30). For this reason, I believe Mulholland Dr. absolutely portrays a complex narrative in cinematic form. It doesn’t follow the typical chronology of most movies, and even surpasses other complex narratives in terms of its confusion of order. Because of the way Lynch chose to organize the film, audiences must question the true sequence of events, since there’s no real distinction between reality, dreams, or flashbacks. Although he refers to television shows, his point that audience membership to narrative complex shows is much more cultlike, can apply to a movie with this classification as well; fans are more devoted and engaged in the story that keeps them guessing, thus they continue watching it. Mulholland Dr. is no exception to this idea. Fans will continue watching it over and over and over again, because they want to search for clues and try to figure out the real story; it’s a giant puzzle fans wants to solve.
Do all people want to solve this mystery of a plot though? I’d say no, myself being one of them. I definitely find it fascinating that one movie can spur such different, and some very far-fetched, theories. I really do enjoy puzzles and mysteries, but this movie kind of blew me out of the water in that respect. There are just too many different details and parts to piece together in a logical manner for me. I turn to movies and shows for entertainment purposes, and sometimes to serve as a break from thinking, so to watch something that requires such thought just made my head spin.
I think a good amount of people feel the same as I do in that respect. Everybody has different goals they wish to acheive from watching movies, and I’m sure there’s a good amount of people who do in fact enjoy the dysfunctional storyline of complex narratives. I think it’s possible for good storytelling to coexist with complex narrative structures, but only if the story can have some sort of cohesion at the end. It seems hard to distinguish a good story if you can’t actually figure out what the story is. For some reason Crash stands out to me, as having a bit of a complex narrative, but is also enjoyable to watch because you can figure out how it all comes together at the end.