Wednesday, February 9, 2011


The Score: 10 out of 10

In the process of making the TV series Twin Peaks (1990-91), David Lynch collaborated with many writers and directors to produce all 30 episodes. But whenever Lynch periodically returned to direct an episode, he always grounded the series back in what he felt was most important: Laura Palmer. So when directing the prequel film Fire Walk with Me (1992), Lynch recentered our focus back to Laura Palmer and her struggle to free herself from a secret life of abuse.

Twin Peaks' Precipitous Cliffhanger Endings from the Series Finale
Left Millions of Fans Anxious for a Sequel, Not a Prequel
Laura Palmer is one of the most intriguing characters on television. On Twin Peaks (1990-91), we learn nearly everything about Laura second hand. Although we occasionally heard tape recordings of her addressing her psychiatrist Dr. Jacoby, or hear a few direct excerpts from her regular diary and secret diary, and we catch glimpses of her in photos and video footage, for the most part we came to know who Laura was through the relationships she had with the people in her community. Laura Palmer was killed before the first frame of the show aired, so what we know of her is by what is inferred about her character. For instance, we never saw Laura's tenderness to the mentally deficient Johnny Horne, but we infer it by the way Johnny despondently hits his head repeatedly against a dollhouse after he learns she is dead.
In the Opening Credit Sequence David Lynch Smashes All Our Preconceived
Notions of What Twin Peaks is Supposed to be and Takes Us on an Entirely
New Journey Completely Beyond the Constraints of Television
To a large extent, the TV series was structured so the audience could triangulate Laura Palmer's personality by the impressions she left behind in the people who knew her. This is an effective framing device for the series, gradually allowing us to form a picture of who Laura was and what motivated her as the series progressed. Although this narrative structure is useful for a TV series, David Lynch understood the time constraints he would be working under when continuing the story in a movie format.
The Teresa Banks Murder Becomes a Microcosm of Laura Palmer's Murder
Walking into Fire Walk with Me (1992), most fans were looking for closure after their favorite characters experienced so many tragedies at the end of the devastating cliffhanger series finale. Twin Peaks' viewers clamored for a film sequel to wrap up the many cliffhangers and bring closure to the series, but David Lynch recognized the heart of this TV show was and is Laura Palmer. In interviews, Lynch made it clear that his interest in the TV series drifted after Laura's murder mystery was resolved. For this reason, he made the controversial decision to shift the feature film's timeline backwards before going forward again.
After a Quick Glimpse of Teresa Banks, David Lynch Personally Opens the
Film as F.B.I. Regional Bureau Chief Gordon Cole
Although Lynch reportedly planned to make a series of Twin Peaks feature films to continue the story and address and resolve the series cliffhangers in subsequent films, for the first film he apparently wanted to shift the emphasis back where it belongs: Laura's imperfect yet courageous struggle against the abuse that slowly ate away at her soul and her choice to accept death rather than be used as an instrument of evil. Unfortunately, Fire Walk with Me (1992) underperformed at the box office, preventing the production of the other sequels.
Agent Chet Desmond Resolves a Bizarre Case in the Prologue of the Film
Laura Palmer's story is not easy to watch, to say the least. Confronting the horror of molestation, murder, and possession/insanity makes for a disturbing movie experience. And David Lynch does not pull his punches in Fire Walk with Me (1992), as he takes us deeper and deeper into Laura's own personal hell. Sexual abuse and incest are difficult subjects to tackle for what was at the time anticipated as a relatively mainstream film to follow up the TV series. When most the film's viewers expected a glorified extended episode of the more light-hearted ensemble TV series and they are instead confronted with this full throttle odyssey into the bizarre, almost everyone was completely unprepared for it.
Apparently, the disparity between the movie most audience members thought they were going to watch versus the film they actually ended up watching was too great for most to take at the time. People were unprepared for the traumatic shift in tone from the relatively lighthearted series. This unfortunately left a bad taste in the mouth for many viewers. For this reason, many Twin Peaks fans outright dismiss the film as an extraneous appendage to an otherwise incredible series. And film critics of the time ravaged it, too.
I Totally Would Have Bought Your Signature Coffee, David Lynch, Except for Your Motherf*cking Twin Peaks Prequel
Even former Lynch devotee Quentin Tarantino said the following: "I'm not ragging on other people, but after I saw Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me at Cannes, David Lynch has disappeared so far up his own ass that I have no desire to watch another David Lynch film until I hear something different. And you know, I loved him. I loved him" (Quentin Tarantino Interviews, p. 48). And it is clear that even to this day, Fire Walk with Me (1992) has provoked the worst critical reaction of any David Lynch films with the possible exception of his underrated science fiction epic Dune (1984) [our article on DUNE].
Sheryl Lee, David Lynch, and Moira Kelly (The New Donna Hayward)
But the years have been kind to Fire Walk with Me. Over time people have unburied David Lynch's film from under many layers of critical coal and negative word-of-mouth to uncover a concealed diamond. In the final analysis, Fire Walk with Me really is an artistic gem and is among the most honest depictions of domestic sexual abuse captured on film. The surrealism and various story threads might confuse those not already intimately familiar with the world Twin Peaks, but otherwise serves the film's dark tone in ways similar to another beautiful abuse-centered drama Precious (2009) whose main character often escapes into fantasy sequences in her mind to help cope with the abuse.
This Recent Fan-Made Image Expresses a Common Desire for FWWM
to Gain Artistic Recognition as a Criterion Collection Release
Regardless of what contemporary critics had to say about the film, to this day Fire Walk with Me stands out as a major achievement in motion pictures and is a fearless work of art that has reportedly provided some comfort and catharsis for many abuse victims worldwide. Can you really imagine a more powerful way to resolve the Laura Palmer storyline begun on television? In the final analysis, Fire Walk with Me seems best appreciated 
A Memorable Shot from Laura's Final Showdown with Bob
And while Fire Walk with Me (1992) has extreme content comparable to what is found in Lynch's previous feature Wild at Heart (1990), this time the content tends to serve a more constructive narrative purpose, with the exception of the infamous and excessively prolonged "Pink Room" bar scene in the middle of the movie. Yet in a strange turn of events,  Fire Walk with Me (1992) was greeted with boos after its screening at Cannes only two years after Wild at Heart (1990) had won that festival's top honor. Go figure.
David Lynch as F.B.I. Regional Bureau Chief Gordon Cole
The fan favorite character Agent Cooper would have played a bigger role in Fire Walk with Me except actor Kyle MacLachlan desired to branch away from his iconic role for fear of being typecast, as he briefly intimates in the video clip above. For this reason, David Lynch included new FBI agents in FWWM who could take up the investigative mantle had the other two planned sequels been produced. Chris Isaak's Agent Chet Desmond and David Bowie's Agent Phillip Jeffries would have provided alternate possibilities as the new central lead investigator. It is worth noting that two years ago MacLachlan expressed second thoughts over this decision and made comments publicly that he would love to play Special Agent Dale Cooper if the opportunity ever arises again.
Interested in a Feature Film Centering Around David Bowie's Agent Jeffries? Bowie's Surrealist "Convenience Store" Scene was Originally 20 Minutes Long in the Rough Cut, Footage We Hope to See Integrated in a New Movie
Whatever the behind-the-scenes drama, we are glad MacLachlan eventually participated in the film. Unfortunately, Sherilyn Fenn and Richard Beymer (Audrey and Ben Horne) apparently also opted out of this film and are a noticeable loss. And given the importance of Laura's relationship to the Horne family in the TV series, the film began to lose one too many connective threads it had from the TV series. And we feel Ben's slimy and condescending presence mixed with Sherilyn's mischievous, coquettish charm would have done wonders to lighten the ultimately dreary tone of this brutal film.
Sherilyn Fenn as Audrey Horne on the Pilot Episode of the Series
Also contributing to this perfect storm were the deletion of approximately two hours of scenes starring the Twin Peaks series cast regulars. If any of the preceding factors had been avoided, then Fire Walk with Me surely would have likely been more palatable to film audiences, particularly to the Twin Peaks aficionados who may have felt disenfranchised by the final cut of the movie. But films are not made in a vacuum and these things are not always within the filmmaker's control. So as sad as we are that so many factors seemed to work against the film, we are still glad Lynch added this remarkable motion picture as the capstone to his groundbreaking series.
Your Eyes Are Not Deceiving You
Jack Bauer Joins Forces with Director David Lynch and Singer Chris Isaak to
Take on the Teresa Banks's Murder Investigation in Deer Meadow, WA
Chris Isaak Plays F.B.I. Special Agent Chet Desmond, a No-Nonsense Lead Investigator Who Gets Results
Gordon Cole Debriefs Agents Desmond and Stanley Via Symbolism
In a Young Role, Kiefer Sutherland Plays FBI Special Agent Sam Stanley,
an Expert in Forensic Science Akin to Agent Rosenfield's Specialty
Each Gesture and Article of Clothing is Choreographed to Convey a Message
When Desmond Asks a Follow-Up Question, Cole Responds with More Symbolism
Gordon Cole Stretches a Hand Across His Face
Confused by this Manner of Communication, Stanley Asks Desmond to Elaborate
All of the Many Peculiarities and Gestures are Explained to Sam Stanley,
and by Extension, the Audience
Lynch Prepares Our Minds for the Unfolding Events of the Film, Which
May Seem Bizarre and Random at First, Yet Carries Meaning
Prepare for an Adventure to Unfold within a Greater Mystery
Frank Herbert attempted to write a screen adaptation of his novel Dune (1965) long before David Lynch adapted it in the early 1980's. Herbert described his own screenplay as inadequate because it lacked the visual metaphors necessary to translate his ideas from literature to film. In this audio interview, Herbert later commented on David Lynch's exceptional gift at creating those elusive visual metaphors. Lynch has an artist's eye for directing a succession of powerful images representing abstract concepts and complex ideas. But because of his extensive use of metaphors, some have mistakenly labeled Lynch as obscure and too confusing. The truth is, Lynch is exceptionally clear once you have picked up on his natural rhythms and become acquainted with his symbolic visual language.

Deer Meadow is Bizarro Twin Peaks
As we stated in our articles for the pilot episode, we meet almost every major characters' doppelgänger (shadow-self) during the course of the series. And since the town of Twin Peaks is a vitally important character in its own right, it receives the same treatment. In the opening of Fire Walk with Me, we follow FBI Special Agents Chet Desmond and Sam Stanley's investigation of Teresa Banks's murder at Deer Meadow. Although Twin Peaks and Deer Meadow are both small towns in the pacific northwest, they could not be more different from each other. These towns are like polar opposites.
Where the Sheriff Station and Personnel are Friendly, Inviting, and Value the FBI's
Assistance in Twin Peaks, Dear Meadow is the Exact Opposite
Deputy Cliff Howard Laughs and Mocks the Agents to their Faces as He Stalls
and Prevents Them from Meeting with the Sheriff
Agent Stanley Audits the Office Silently as They are Forced to Wait
Agent Desmond Tries the More Direct Approach and is Accosted by Deputy
Howard, Forcing Desmond to Force His Way into the Sheriff's Office 
Sheriff Cable Responds with as Much Hostility as His Deputy
Agent Desmond Uses His Federal Authority to Order the Sheriff to Hand Over
All Pertinent Information Concerning Teresa Banks's Murder
Agents Desmond and Stanley Investigate Teresa Banks's Body without the
Cooperation of the Sheriff's Staff
Stanley's Forensics Expertise is Impressive as He Quickly Shares His Findings

Agent Desmond Listens While Analyzing Her Case File and Personal Effects
Desmond Cannot Find the Ring Teresa was Clearly Wearing When She was Killed
Agent Stanley Discovers a Strange Contusion Under the Nail of Teresa's Ring
Finger, Leading Him to Check it More Closely
In a Moment of Pilot Episode Deja Vu, Agent Stanley Uncovers a Major Clue
In a Gruesome Moment, Agent Stanley Uncovers a Newsprint Letter "T"
The Two Agents are Troubled by this Alarming Discovery
There is More to Teresa Banks's Death than Meets the Eye
The Two Agents Wrap Up their Preliminary Investigation and Autopsy at 3 AM
They Grab a Bite at the Local 24-Hour Diner Where Teresa Banks Worked
 and They Meet Deer Meadow's Version of Norma (Eww, We Miss Norma)
The FBI Agents Encounter Resistance at Every Step of Their Investigation
Where Many of the Townspeople in Twin Peaks are a Little Eccentric, Almost
Everyone in Deer Meadow Seems Completely Insane and Possibly on Drugs
Agent Desmond Seemingly Connects to Teresa Banks in a Profound Way, Similar
to Agent Cooper's Eventual Connection to Laura Palmer
Teresa's Missing Ring Contains a Symbol Too Blurry to See in this Photo
Agent Desmond Intuitively Understands Something About this "Blue Rose" Case
Coffee is Just Plain Bad or Weird in Deer Meadow, as Opposed to the "Damn
Fine" Coffee in Twin Peaks
Deer Meadow's Version of the Log Lady is More of a Crazy Vagrant and Never Speaks
Harry Dean Stanton Has a Memorable Role as Teresa Banks's Landlord Who
Seems to have Some Past Experience with the Lodge Entities
Sheriff Cable Tries to Prevent Agents Desmond and Stanley from Taking the
Corpse of Teresa Banks to Portland for More Advanced Forensic Testing
Agent Desmond Orders Agent Stanley to Accompany the Body to Portland While
Desmond Remains in Town to Go After the "Blue Rose"
Agent Desmond Intuitively Finds His Way to a Trailer Near Teresa Banks's
Where He Discovers Teresa's Ring Atop a Mound of Dirt, Similar to Laura's Heart-
Shaped Pendant Discovered by Agent Cooper Later at the Abandoned Train Car
In every way Twin Peaks is good, Deer Meadow is bad. Deer Meadow has nasty food, horrible coffee, unfriendly locals, and a corrupt Sheriff who we have reason later in the film to suspect of running criminal operations in town, particularly an illegal drug trade. All in all, Deer Meadow is a disturbing place and soon Agent Desmond goes missing without a trace.
What Happens to Agent Desmond?
The next section of the film jumps to FBI headquarters in Philadelphia where Agent Cooper will be assigned to investigate Agent Desmond's disappearance. Aside from Eraserhead (1976), Fire Walk with Me (1992) is the only other David Lynch film with scenes set in Philadelphia, the town that first sparked his artistic muse in the late 60's.
We Take a Brief Excursion to FBI Chief Gordon Cole's Office for a Bizarre
Exchange Involving Agents Cooper, Rosenfield, and Jeffries (David Bowie)
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) is filled with some of David Lynch's best surrealist film sequences. Even those with a strong working knowledge of the TV series could find these scenes a little confusing, and are certainly more abstract than what you typically encounter in a mainstream film. But where other directors create ambiguity and confusion as a result of deficient storytelling, David Lynch deliberately invokes these elements to tell his story better.
David Lynch rarely attacks a subject head on, preferring to dance around the literal meaning so individuals can make new connections for themselves. If this kind of ambiguous storytelling makes you nervous, then do not worry yourself. You are in good hands with Lynch and can always trust him to present you with something meaningful to digest throughout his surrealism. Like Stanley Kubrick and Ingmar Bergman, David Lynch's abstract film sequences are emotionally and intellectually stirring and surprisingly profound.
Agent Cooper Reminds Gordon Cole of a Troubling Dream He had Regarding this Particular Day and Time
Although the meaning behind these sequence might seem obscure at first glance when compared to most modern movies that normally bludgeon their audience with lack of subtlety, Lynch's films actually give us enough room to maneuver with our own thought process as the scenes unfold. Lynch's subconscious engages with ours on a primal level, communicating things not possible to explain in a conventionally literal way. This form of narrative storytelling requires time to acclimate yourself properly, but once you find yourself in the zone, you will be hard pressed to find many others capable of stimulating your subconscious in such meaningful ways.
FWWM is the Only Feature Film with David Lynch Acting in a Prominent Part
Apparently Following the Script of His Dream, Agent Cooper Walks Back and Forth
Between a Surveillance Camera and its Neighboring Monitor
Until Agent Phillip Jeffries Apparently Materializes in the Elevator from Behind
Cooper, Walking Past Him on the Monitor
While Cooper is Watching in the Adjoining Room withthe Monitor, Impossibly
Looking at Agent Jeffries Walking Past Himself in Real Time
Agent Jeffries Somehow Recognizes Agent Cooper's Face, But Apparently
Mistakes Cooper for Someone Else. Or Does He?
Jeffries Relays What He Found at One of "Their" Meetings Above a Convenience Store,
Connecting Back to Cooper's Dream Conversation with Mike in Episode 2
Duke Leto Atreides from Dune Briefly Appears as a Previously Unseen Lodge Entity
David Lynch and Kyle MacLachlan Review the Security Camera Footage
After David Bowie's Agent Jeffries Vanishes Back into Thin Air
Cole Sends Cooper to Deer Meadow to Investigate Agent Desmond's Strange
Disappearance, Too, While Also Taking Over the Teresa Banks Case
Nearly All Statements Made by the Dwarf to Agent Cooper in the Red Room
Have Been Accounted for in the Series, Except One Which We See Now
Agent Cooper has a Premonition the Killer Will Strike Again
The Deer Meadow and Philadelphia scenes of Fire Walk with Me at first seem like a random way to open the film, but in just a half hour, David Lynch has essentially recapped the entire Twin Peaks TV series via Teresa Banks's murder investigation. This extended prologue is useful for film viewers who never watched the TV series before and also helps remind the TV show's many fans what this story is all about after a year of not seeing an episode. And in this process, Lynch simultaneously created several alternative characters to use in lieu of Kyle MacLachlan's Agent Cooper for the planned future sequels.

Welcome to Twin Peaks
We suddenly jump ahead one year in the story and are presented with the terrifying last week of Laura Palmer's life. The idea of making a prequel concentrating on these horrifying moments from the past was probably a hard sell for David Lynch to make. But Laura Palmer's story is what always held Lynch's interest when making the series, and to his credit, he did not waste our time with a film sequel to a story he was not yet interested in telling.
Fire Walk with Me is the Film David Lynch Wanted to Make, Rather than the
Film Everyone Expected or Even Wanted Him to Make
George Lucas, on the other hand, reportedly never felt inspired to tell the story at the center of his prequel trilogy: Stars Wars Episodes I-III. But unfortunately, this obviously talented filmmaker caved into pressure and made the movies anyway to satisfy public demand. As we see, great filmmakers should avoid wasting everyone's time with projects that fail to capture their interest. If they are bored with the material, then chances are we will be bored with it, too.
Pictured: A Movie George Lucas Feels Passionate About Making
Pictured: A Movie George Lucas Does Not Feel Passionate About Making
At the end of the day, David Lynch has always worked best while following his instincts. And however much we might desire more resolution to the open plot threads at the end of the Twin Peaks TV series, our frustration does not erase Lynch's astounding artistic achievement. Film critics at the time of Fire Walk with Me's release would have been well advised to keep that in mind. Although we admit the film has its flaws, we confidently challenge the film's unconscionably negative critical reception in 1992 and declare Fire Walk with Me one of the most significant works of art of the last 20 years.
Like the Rest of the Town, Bobby is More in Love with the Image of Laura Palmer
than the Woman Herself. She is Filled with Secrets and Already Feels Cut Off
Bobby is Later Angry When He Suspects Laura Could Be Cheating on Him
Afraid of Losing Her Lifeline to Cocaine that Laura Uses to Self-Medicate Her
Depression, She Effortlessly Charms Bobby Back into a Good Mood Again
Bobby Knows Laura is Pulling His Strings, But He Does Not Really Care
In just a few minutes of screen time, David Lynch reveals the public persona of Laura Palmer. One, she is popular; two, she is desired by the most attractive and eligible men in town who are all fighting for a bigger slice of her time and attention; three, she is addicted to cocaine; and four, Laura is successful at manipulating men to get what she wants.
Laura has an Uncanny Ability to Juggle Relationships with Several Men and
Leaving Each of Them Wanting More
Rarely do mainstream films focus on a three-dimensional female character like Laura Palmer. Her many flaws quickly come to the surface in these introductory scenes, apparently making it difficult for many viewers to care for her at first. In just a few minutes, we see Laura taking cocaine, cheating on her boyfriend, and using the boyfriend she is cheating on to get hold of more drugs for her. Without understanding the cause of this destructive behavior, she is definitely a difficult person to empathize with at first glance.
One of the Main Reasons Laura Does Not Explain What She is Suffering and Seek
 Help Against BOB is Because She Fears for Others' Safety
But David Lynch unfolds Laura's story with such power and compassion that by the time the film ends, we should be able to look past her weaknesses and understand the true depths of the person inside. Many critics simply labed Laura Palmer as a "tiresome teen" in their reviews of the film, completely overlooking the film's central theme. At first we perceive Laura as purely external observers. But as the film progresses, Lynch slowly takes us deeper and deeper into Laura's mind until something remarkable happens. We click with an understanding that Laura is actually a good person who has been suffering in a secret hell from ages 12 to 17 and she has been searching in vain for some way to escape from it. 
By the close of the film, we no longer see Laura Palmer as just another "tiresome teen" or even a sadly tragic murder victim. We come to know Laura as a heroic teenage young woman trying to escape from an unimaginably monstrous abuser while trying to avoid becoming a monster in the process. And ultimately, Laura will courageously choose to end her downward spiral even if it means her death.

Laura and Donna Discuss James, Bobby, Mike, and Falling in Space
David Lynch captures lightning in a bottle, directing the best performance of Sheryl Lee's career and one of the most important female roles in modern film. People who were surprised years later by the incredible role for and performance of Naomi Watts in Lynch's Mulholland Dr. (2001) should have seen it coming if they had fairly evaluated what Lynch and Lee managed to accomplish in Fire Walk with Me (1992). For this reason, any actor who works with Lynch almost invariably looks for another chance to work with him again. It is common knowledge that Lynch has helped many of his actors find their best film performances.
Laura Palmer Retrieves Her Secret, Hidden Diary to Discover Pages Torn Out
Laura Rushes to One of Her Many Secret Boyfriends, Harold Smith
Laura Explains that BOB Has Been Molesting Her Since She was 12 Years Old
And that BOB is Not Just a Figment of Her Imagination, as Harold Suspected
BOB is Real and He Must Have Stolen the Pages from Her Diary
BOB is Supposedly Not Aware of Harold, So She Leaves Her Diary with Him for Safekeeping
Laura Kisses Harold Goodbye and Leaves His House for the Last Time
Harold Wants to Help Laura, But His Psychological Condition Prevents Him
From Leaving His House, Causing Harold to Weep

Mrs. Tremond and Her Grandson Pay Laura a Visit During the Meals on Wheels
They Inform Laura that the Man Who Stole the Pages from Her Diary is at Her
House, Looking for the Diary Again
Mrs. Tremond Also Gives Laura a Gift of a Special Painting that Will Open
Laura's Mind to the Influence of the Lodge
Laura Abandons the Meals on Wheels for the Rest of the Day, Leaving Shelly
Johnson to Finish without Her While Laura Looks for Answers at Home
The Fan is Blowing, Connecting Back to Early Imagery from the Pilot Episode
Laura Carefully Opens the Door to Her Room
To Discover BOB Reaching Behind Her Clothes Drawer, Searching for Her
Missing Secret Diary
Laura Wisely Runs Away for Safety
And Laura Palmer Hides Under Some Nearby Foliage
And to Laura's Horror, She Sees Her Father Walk Out of the House
She Cries, Wishing Desperately that it is Not Really Her Father
Leland Pulls Away. The Only Other Time We See Leland in His Car is
After He Murders Maddy Ferguson in the Series
At first Laura is in denial that her father could be the one molesting her. The truth is difficult to bear and it takes considerable time for Laura to come around and face the facts. In an interesting way, this mimics Agent Cooper's experience investigating her murder chronologically later during the events of the TV series. Cooper actually learns the truth about Leland Palmer at the end of his dream conversation with Laura in episode 2, but the next morning he no longer remembers what she said to him. It is a horrible fact to confront and Cooper and Laura will need several other corroborating facts and experiences to help them recognize the truth for themselves.
After Receiving Some Comfort from a Confused Donna, Laura Returns Home
Leland Palmer Seems Relatively Friendly and Cordial When Laura First Sits
for Dinner Until He Sees Her Pendant
The Divided Heart Pendant, a Sign of a Secretive "True" Romance
Suddenly the Seemingly Friendly Father Transforms into a Jealous Man
And Leland Intimidates Laura with a Crazy Reaction. Here Leland
Emphasizes the Fingernail that Will Soon Hold His Letter "R"
BOB/Leland Asks if Her Lover Gave this to Her
Leland Continues Terrorizing Laura Even After His Wife Sarah Enters the Room
In this one scene, David Lynch encapsulates the principal villain of the entire Twin Peaks saga. Over the years, Lynch has expressed his interest in making "personal" over "political" thrillers. Lynch gravitates toward revealing horror that takes place on a small scale, similar in style to films like Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (1943) and Rear Window (1954). And in that respect, Ray Wise's performance stands out as one of the most terrifying home-grown villains in cinematic history. Wise's ability to transform from friendly Leland to terrifying BOB is remarkably nuanced. Although many actors are recognized for their contributions to Twin Peaks, Ray Wise is far too often overlooked for his tortured performance.
Laura Palmer has Psychic Visions Connecting Her to Agent Cooper
And a Ring with the Same Owl Cave Symbol First Featured in the TV Series
The Little Man From Another Place Makes an Appearance in Her Dream, Too
And Apparently in an Attempt to Save Laura's Life, Agent Cooper Warns Her
Agent Jeffries went missing shortly after learning some things about a woman named Judy, whose story is never fully explained in the film but who might be connected to Josie Packard or alternatively be a Lodge name for Laura. Agent Desmond is connected to Teresa Banks, whose murder investigation we followed at the beginning of the film before he also turned up missing. And Agent Cooper is connected to Laura Palmer, a young woman killed at the end of the film.
We know from the series that "the good Cooper" is doomed to be trapped in the Lodge about one month after beginning his investigation. Had the sequels been made that David Lynch originally planned, Lynch would have likely delved deeper into the nature of these connections and explored their implications. But as is, we are left with an evocative concept about the psychic links between sympathetic protectors and victims and those connections extending beyond time and death.
What Does the Owl-Cave Ring Symbolize?
How Much of Leland is BOB? And How Much of Leland is Leland? Is there
as Much Difference as We Were Lead to Believe in the Series?
Privately piecing together your own interpretations of what these symbols might mean is really half the fun of watching Twin Peaks, or any other David Lynch project, for that matter. For this reason, we tend to limit our speculation about these symbols to a minimum in these articles. We occasionally offer some ideas to stimulate your own thought process so you give Lynch's films a closer look than you might have done otherwise. So we strongly encourage you to engage in a process of discovery with Lynch's films again, regardless of the number of times you might have seen them before. There are new facets that reveal themselves each time you watch them.
Laura Palmer Visits the Roadhouse
The Log Lady Explains the Central Theme of the Film and TV Series
And Discusses the Fire that Has Been Burning Laura from Inside Out
Laura Palmer Looks at Her Reflection During a Moment of Introspection
David Lynch specializes in the production of beautiful scenes difficult to describe in words. He makes moments of film you must experience for yourself. Among these favorite scenes we could include Laura Dern's Sandy describing her dream about the return of the robins in Blue Velvet (1986), Major Briggs's heart-to-heart talk with Bobby in Twin Peaks Episode 8 (1990), etc. Another scene we could add to the extensive list would be Laura Palmer's entrance into the roadhouse with Julee Cruise singing Questions in a World of Blue. We note with interest that all the songs she sings at the Roadhouse throughout the series and film were composed by Angelo Badalamenti with lyrics written by David Lynch himself.
Although we are hardly half way through the film, it feels right to end our analysis of the film here. David Lynch's films need to be experienced as raw and unfiltered as possible before watching them, so we feel that picking apart the remaining scenes will not serve a constructive purpose right now. The second half of this film is so powerful that it speaks for itself. And since an aura of mystery surrounds and permeates the world of Twin Peaks, we will leave this article as it is for the time being. Although, we will likely write another article exploring other aspects of the film at a later time. [Editor's Note 02/06/2012: We did write another article commemorating the 20th Anniversary of Fire Walk with Me's release titled Twin Peaks: Laura Palmer and Dale Cooper.]
Twin Peaks is an apt title for a story centering around the internal struggle taking place between two conflicting aspects of a person's identity. To a greater or lesser extent, we all have a doppelgänger or a shadow-self. In the world of Twin Peaks, the Shadow can be expressed in various ways, including a literal form. For those too quick to dismiss this film as meaningless, we recommend taking a closer look at the profound psychoanalytic implications in this David Lynch masterpiece.
Once Laura Accepts the Truth, She Can No Longer Abide the Status Quo
Laura Understands Her Father's Duplicitous Nature and Will Not Be Beguiled
Leland/BOB Realize Their Joined Identity is Now Understood by Laura
And Laura Palmer's Fate is Sealed as She Walks Beneath the Stairwell Fan
Leland's Shadow
Dr. Carl Jung explained: "Unfortunately there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants to be. Everyone carries a Shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is... if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected and is liable to burst forth suddenly in a moment of unawareness. At all events, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions."
At another time, Dr. Jung elaborated: "Despite all attempts at denial and obfuscation there is an unconscious factor, a black sun, which is responsible for the surprisingly common phenomenon of masculine split-mindedness... the woman is accused of all the darkness in a man, while he himself basks in the thought that he is a veritable fount of vitality and illumination for the females in his environment. Actually he would be better advised to shroud the brilliance of his mind in the profoundest doubt" (Source of Jung Quotes).
The Repressed Shadow Mentioned by Jung Sounds Suspiciously Similar to Fire
Pictured: The Fireplace in Jacques Renault's Cabin
Waldo the Myna Bird Makes a Brief Appearance
The principal purpose of these articles is to provide a doorway to David Lynch's films for those who might not otherwise watch them with an open mind. Lynch's films are often categorized as obscure art-house films, but we envision a time when mainstream audiences watch them in a new light. Lynch's films speak to the human soul as few other films do. And Twin Peaks in particular is a masterful, well-crafted viewing experience comparable to few others. Twin Peaks will challenge you, but it will also engage you with its passion and verve for life rarely encountered at the cinema.

Kyle MacLachlan, Director David Lynch, and Michael Anderson on the Set of the Red Room/Waiting Room, White Lodge/Black Lodge
Rumors have circulated for decades that David Lynch might revisit the world of Twin Peaks in other sequel films or a new TV series, but other reports state he is not planning to add anything to the story other than performing post-production on nearly two hours of deleted scenes for Fire Walk with Me. Lynch has explained in the past about his philosophy of presenting deleted scenes in the same quality of video and audio as the film itself whenever possible. Since the post-production costs would be expensive to complete up to Lynch's rigorous standards, the rights holder MK II would need to cover the expenses before Lynch could proceed. Please support the petition below to indicate your interest. [Editor's Note: New deleted footage was recently found for Blue Velvet (1986) and remastered beautifully for the recent Blu-ray release.]
Aside from scheduling conflicts/creative differences with Lara Flynn Boyle (Donna Hayward), Sherilyn Fenn (Audrey Horne), and Richard Beymer (Ben Horne), David Lynch actually included the rest of the TV series cast in the production of the film. Unfortunately, the rough cut of the film ran over 4 and 1/2 hours in length, necessitating massive cuts. Most scenes that concentrated on the other characters more than Laura were deleted from the finished film. In addition to the time constraints, David Lynch also reportedly wanted to tighten the editing of the film into a more personal exploration of Laura's journey.
MK II (the rights holder) needs our feedback on our desire to see completed deleted scenes on the upcoming Blu-Ray release. They understandably want to know if it would be profitable to invest in the post-production costs. Here is a link to the our Facebook Petition where you can show your support and express your interest in watching those scenes. An official Facebook Petition has also been formalized, which you can find on Facebook below: [Editor's Note: A more extensive Facebook Petition was begun months after ours started, and we throw our full support behind their efforts. But we still maintain our petition page to share Twin Peaks related news and update you on the deleted scenes' status.]

We have completed our ten week analysis of David Lynch's Twin Peaks TV series and prequel film. In spite of being cancelled 20 years ago, the show lives on as one of the most loved and watched programs of all time. In an age when disposable reality shows are the norm, we can turn back the clock and relive this rare, short-lived work of art featuring our favorite small town in the Pacific Northwest.
Next week we will analyze David Lynch's next project, a TV series first developed at the height of Twin Peaks' success: On the Air (1992). This new comedy series followed the behind-the-scenes shenanigans of a 50's TV variety show, but quickly petered out in ratings and was cancelled with only seven episodes completed. Now labeled as a miniseries, these seven episodes are not yet available on DVD, so you might have some difficulty tracking down a way to watch this show before next week's article.

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  1. This is my favorite Lynch film. Its depth is something completely misunderstood by most people who criticize it. The final scene leaves me speechless. Incredible piece of art.

  2. Thanks for the article, it's really good! I love this film so much. It's so powerful, and Sheryl gives an amazing perfomance. The music is excelent. I think it's the best Lynch film, alongside with Mulholland Drive. Truly fascinating.