My initial thought after watching Muholland Drive, was that Diane was clearly a schizophrenic and everything in the first half of the movie was happening n her mind after she had had Camilla offed. I thought what had really happened was Diane had been in a relationship with Camilla briefly but after Camilla met Adam she left Diane for the director. Feeling bad for Diane, she invited her to Adams Hollywood party where Diane might meet and schmooze with other Hollywood big shots. Diane however was so hurt and enraged at seeing Adam and Camilla together that she soon after hired a hit man to have Camilla killed. When the assassination was complete and the blue key was left on Diane’s counter her grief and guilt were so overwhelming that it fractured her mind and she created an alternate universe in her mind where she was new to Hollywood, a star on the rise, and where Camilla survived the assassination and became a new, dependant version of herself unable to survive without her, thus Betty and Rita both lived in Diane’s mind. Her conscious kept interrupting her subconscious creation however, like running into Adam at the movie set, or Adam’s mother showing up in her subconscious as Betty’s landlady Coco. The blue box represented the truth or reality and upon opening it Betty and Rita disappeared and Diane became cognizant again of her current situation and remembered her part in Camilla’s death. Her reality fractured further as she is plagued by seemingly realistic memories and delusions of Camilla being in her kitchen. When she sees the blue key again, an absolute reminder of the realistic consequences of her actions, Diane is driven to total madness and envisions her Aunt and Uncle attacking her, retreats to her bedroom where she shoots herself. One of the theories I read about and would incorporate into my overall theory would be the one about sexual abuse in Diane’s childhood by her aunt or uncle, or friend of her fathers, an incident that also permeates her subconscious and shows itself in the form of her audition with the sleazy older actor. It would also explain why it is the older couple, her aunt and uncle possibly, who plague her and frighten her into suicide.
For the most part I side with classical theory except that I think that not only was she dreaming, it was the dream of a schizophrenic who has completely created a different ego and is unaware of their own real ego in the process. Call me simple, but in cases such as these where I am completely baffled by half of what’s going on I tend to resort to an Occam’s razor type scenario. I can see where David Lynch might have been going for a more complex, multifaceted approach, but diving into the dream within a dream within a dream theory was a bit too much for me to handle. This was the theory that I could actually wrap my mind head around, so I’m just going to say that it is my interpretation.
As far as classifying Muholland Drive as a complex narrative, well, I hardly think it could be classified as anything BUT complex. In fact, if there was a genre more complex than the complex narrative, then that is where I would place Muholland Drive. Instead of following typical narrative formats, Lynch creates a complex narrative through his seemingly nonsequitar collaboration of scenes. Everything (depending on which theory you believe I guess) is out of chronological order, and the film raises more questions than it answers.
As far as my own personal reaction to the film goes, all I can say is I’m glad I watched it in class. It certainly piqued my interest and academic appetite to analyze what the heck was going on in the film. If I had rented it for a night cuddled up on the couch, however, I would have certainly been left confused and too unsatisfied to bother researching what had been the meaning of the movie. I do believe that a director can make a movie and expect their audience to have to get actively involved, but a movie as complex as Muholland Drive can not be expected to hit home with a majority of American audiences, because it is not the experience that many moviegoers expect to get from watching a movie. I do think that Muholland Drive was a work of art though, because although the entire plot may not have fit together for me, there were plenty of stand out moments in the film that I found to be beautifully crafted.