Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me review by Jackass Tom

Twin Peaks the show was about the oddities within a seemingly normal town. In Twin Peaks, the top layer seemed rather normal (small sheriff’s office, mill that keeps half the town employed, high school with normal kids) but below the surface there was something evil that couldn’t necessarily be seen by the naked eye. Laura Palmer’s mysterious death was evidence of this evil within the small community. Each episode looked a little deeper into the community of Twin Peaks and found another nugget that lead closer and closer to the truth (while somehow adding more mystery and intrigue each time). The prom photo of Laura Palmer at the end of each episode was a constant reminder of this upper crust that feigned normalcy. Each episode revealed just a tad more about how twisted this high school girl was corrupted by sex, drugs, and the supernatural.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me removes that top layer and dives right into the underbelly. Part way through Season 2 of Twin Peaks (right before it headed into the stinker), the mystery of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) was revealed and this movie puts those events on full display. Laura’s descent into prostitution is detailed. Her addition to cocaine is in full and plain view. And her demons and her relationship with her father/Bob are in full focus. Obviously, television doesn’t lend itself to this graphic detail unless you work for HBO.

Whereas the show is about the killing mystery, the movie is about a family’s struggle with incest. There I said it. In Lynch’s own twisted way, if you take Fire Walk With Me on its own, it really show’s Laura’s struggles within her own mind and her father Leeland’s (Ray Wise) struggles within his own mind. Lynch’s mode of story telling is never straight forward, and Twin Peaks is no exception. There is a doppelganger spirit of Bob/Leland who preys upon Laura at night. He haunts her dreams and takes advantage of her sexually. At the beginning of the movie Laura “realizes” that her father and Bob are one in the same, but it could be read that Bob (Frank Silva) is a figment of her imagination created to demonize her father’s evil desires. He is a manifestation in her mind as much as he is Leland’s own sick alter ego. However, more solid reading might state that Bob is a true “demon” from a spiritual room. The Red Room or the Black Room would be a representation of Purgatory or Hell that Laura descends into. The Dancing Midget a.k.a Man from Another Place (Michael J. Anderson) and the Little-boy-who-looks-like-David-Lynch’s-Mini-Me feed off of human suffering and misery (as stated twice in the film); sounds a like Hell to me. There are even direct references to Laura losing through her sins and then redeeming her guardian angel in the form of Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan).

On a whole this is probably the easiest of all of Lynch’s movies to read. Its linear for one. And it has plenty of back-story in the form of Seasons 1 and 2 of Twin Peaks the series. But for most fans there are still some unanswered questions. David Bowie’s oddball appearance saying “this is not JUDY!” paired up with the blue-tinted close-up of a monkey saying “JUDY” towards the end… well WTF Lynch? Care to explain? My only guess is that in the 3+ hours of film that didn’t make the cut for the final movie there are a few more clues to what is going on there. Even if there weren’t there are some rumors that Lynch expected to make another movie or two based around Twin Peaks (where he would continue to tie a few loose ends while create a few more) but the lack of success of Fire Walk With Me prevented him from moving forward. End result: Fans are left with lack of closure.

Overall it’s a good movie as a supplement to the TV series. Some disappointments you might run into: Only a few scenes with Agent Cooper (the glue of the show), Donna Hayward’s role played by Moira Kelly not Lara Flynn Boyle (although Kelly did a great job of maintaining character consistency), and a lot of other characters not shown or mentioned (Audrey Horne, Sherriff Truman to name a few). The alien crap that went on towards the later stages of Season 2 with Windham Earl is not mentioned but to me that is no disappointment. You can chuck that for all I care.

If you enjoyed the series then by all means check this out to get more Twin Peaks fix. I would definitely recommend seeing the series before you watch the movie though, or else you won’t get the full affect.

6 out of 10 Jackasses
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