Lost in the Movies: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

If you don't want to know anything about Twin Peaks, particularly the big secret, stop reading now.

For weeks I've been absorbed in "Twin Peaks," the 1990 television series, masterminded by David Lynch, which kept viewers tuning in week after week to find out "who killed Laura Palmer?" "Twin Peaks" was many things. It was often funny, but not in any one, easily identifiable way. It could be goofy, knowingly ironic, sweetly silly, absurd. It was also suspenseful, with new twists and turns leading us down a convoluted path to discover who the murderer was. It was frightening, in fact genuinely terrifying, though always just for moments, with comic relief usually coming to the rescue before long. And, of course, it was bizarre. Dancing dwarfs in red rooms, a psychic FBI agent, a woman who carried a log around with her at all times, a black lodge, a white lodge - all cryptic messages alluding to some hidden mystery, a mystery much deeper than the question of who stabbed the teenage beauty queen and threw her body in the river.

And, also, "Twin Peaks" was sad. Seldom acutely sad, the way it could be acutely frightening, although the scene in which Laura's parents find out she's been murdered dwells on their grief. Rather, there was an undertone of sadness, often so diluted it just seemed part of the pulpy overtones of the show, a mock-emotion that Lynch used to get at that eerie, ethereal flavor he was seeking. But every now and then the sadness seemed genuine, and when each episode closed with the picture of Laura Palmer, so perfect, so beautiful, and now so dead, that sadness lingered.

The movie, a prequel which details the last days of Laura, knows that it doesn't have any new secrets to reveal. Laura's murderer was exposed halfway through the second season and though the show tried to move on, it never recovered. Pauline Kael wrote that Marlon Brando's unseen presence pervaded and gave weight to the second Godfather film, even though he wasn't in it. The same is true of Laura Palmer in "Twin Peaks" and so what the film offers, far more valuable than the facts or the "secrets" of her last days, is their texture. We're drawn into the film to see Laura as she really was. I was immensely excited to see Fire Walk With Me and about halfway through I was convinced that it was a movie of rare power and accomplishment. Now that I've seen all of it, I still think so and yet I can't say for certain how I feel about it.

First things first, Fire Walk With Me is a movie drenched in pain. The jokiness of the series, the purposefully saccharine emotions, the overplayed performances and score are, after the possibly unnecessary first act, out. Laura Palmer's story is not a movie-of-the-week; it doesn't tease and then soothe our emotions, titillating us with the promise of catharsis and keeping us far enough away to avoid getting hurt. It's actually one of the most upsetting works of art I've ever seen.

The film opens with a satirical, laconic tone, following two FBI agents as they investigate the murder of a young woman in an isolated hamlet that makes Twin Peaks look like the center of the universe. The local law enforcement elevates stand-offishness into an art form, and the diner is inhabited by decaying goons illuminated by a harsh light that keeps spurting on and off in the background. Clues lead the investigators to the trailer park where the victim lived, and one agent discovers that there's a green ring under one of the trailers. He crawls under to get it and we abruptly move on to other matters, never to see him again.

Relocating to Philadelphia, the film presents a truly random and exceedingly strange scene involving FBI agents (including Kyle MacLachlan as Special Agent Cooper, who was the star of the series), dreamlike flashes involving the dancing red dwarf from the show, the stringy long-haired man known as Bob (see the You Tube clip at the end of my last entry), and David Bowie in an unnecessary cameo. Throughout this scene, Cooper, almost insanely chipper and cheerful on the show, is grim and somber. It's our first clue that we may not be in Kansas anymore.

But then, all of a sudden, we're back on familiar territory. That mountain vista, the sign reading "Welcome to Twin Peaks," and most of all the theme music that opened every episode of the show, pulling you into its world of small-town mystery. And then we see her: Laura Palmer. Not a corpse. Not being impersonated by her cousin Maddie. Not a dream vision appearing to Cooper, nor an image on a video recording of a picnic, nor a photograph sitting on the household mantle. Laura Palmer, in the flesh, the real thing. She's off to school and it's as if we've stepped back through a portal into a time we'd never expected to see. Movies have a unique and potent ability to break one of the surest laws of our existence. Time can be shattered, history unearthed, the past rediscovered.

Laura walks to school, and we pick up familiar characters along the way: Bobby Briggs, the arrogant jock who's dating Laura; the Dean-like James who is her secret lover; best friend Donna (no longer played by Lara Flynn Boyle, who is missed). Some disappointment sets in as we wonder if this will be one of those reunions that doesn't quite capture the magic. After all, the cast members are all a few years older, events are forced to coincide with what we know will happen later, and we're exploring a scenario that was always shrouded in mystery, where our imagination might come up with something more captivating than what we're going to see. But before long, the movie has transcended the show, presenting what the series only evoked, and taking us deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness that "Twin Peaks" only hinted at.

Once the film has reunited us with Laura Palmer, we stay almost entirely with her. There's one aside, showing Cooper in the office with a fellow agent, speculating on her future murder. Eventually, there's no question of cutting away from Laura's story; it simply isn't possible, because she's taken over the film so thoroughly that to try and include anything else would be an absurdity. In fact, one comes to resent that the film bothered to show us anything before her scenes; the early storyline with the FBI agents retroactively seems trivial and even cheap when held up against Laura's suffering.

Watching the series, I wasn't sure if Sheryl Lee was a good actor or just had a "star" quality that held the camera. This movie answers that question: Sheryl Lee gives an outstanding, searing performance. She doesn't hold anything back and the initial shock of seeing Laura Palmer expose her raw emotions wears off as we become astonished that we could be seeing anyone this emotionally naked. The Laura Palmer hinted at in the show was almost a parody of the prom queen with a dark side: as her voice on the tape recorder cooed about how she was suffering, it all seemed like a joke, but one we were all more than eager to buy into. Sheryl Lee strips the cutesy, winking quality away from Laura Palmer and shreds it to pieces. Her pain is real, her anguish is piercing, and at times it's difficult to watch.

There's a scene in which Laura Palmer dresses up and goes out to the roadhouse, a bar which is a familiar sight from the show. But we've never seen it quite like this. Laura steels herself and nods at Jacques, the local pimp, who sends two men over to sit with her. She hurls acidic come-ons their way and her bruised, angry sexuality bristles and electrifies the room. I'm tempted to call what unfolds in the next fifteen minutes (to put a time frame on it seems inappropriate; the sequence envelops us like a trance) the most astonishing work David Lynch has ever done. This is really dark stuff, and it goes further than Mulholland Drive, further than Blue Velvet, into a realm that no other movie I've seen quite approaches.

But that's not the half of it. Even more upsetting than this scene is a family dinner in the Palmer household. Laura's wound-up father torments her about the dirtiness of her hands, gripping them and staring into her trembling face, screaming at her as his wife shrieks for him to stop. Watching the show it always seemed, even after the climactic revelations, that Laura's troubles stemmed from outside her day-to-day family life. Not here. The scene is sickening to watch, and we begin to enter into the troublesome territory.

Roger Ebert, in his zero-star (later revised to one-star) review of Blue Velvet, wrote "Those very scenes of stark stark sexual despair are the tipoff to what's wrong with the movie. They're so strong that they deserve to be in a movie that is sincere, honest and true. But 'Blue Velvet' surrounds them with a story that's marred by sophomoric satire and cheap shots. The director is either denying the strength of his material or trying to defuse it by pretending it's all part of a campy in-joke." And later, "There's another thing. [Isabella] Rossellini is asked to do things in this film that require real nerve...She is degraded, slapped around, humiliated and undressed in front of the camera. And when you ask an actress to endure those experiences, you should keep your side of the bargain by putting her in an important film."

Perhaps because Blue Velvet was never really one of my favorite Lynch films, I never bothered to defend it against Ebert's views. If I had, I would probably say that in Lynch's world the comic, silly aspects only serve to point up the brutality of the reality that emerges. That they are to be taken as an acknowledgement of how lightness exists in the real world, concealing the darker reality underneath. And so on. But having seen Fire Walk With Me, Ebert's words ring in my ears, with a slight revision. When a character, and the audience, is forced to endure traumatic experiences, shouldn't your film be serious?

To be fair, Fire Walk With Me is never as jokey or broad as Blue Velvet or, for that matter, "Twin Peaks" the show. And yet. Do Laura Palmer's brutal sexual experiences belong in the same film as 50s pastiche FBI subplots, celebrity cameos, overwrought musical cues, or even the mystical backwards-talking dwarfs and black lodges that were so powerful on the series? Suddenly all this supernatural mumbo-jumbo, which had been the weightiest elements of the storyline, seem demeaning.

In the movie's most horrifying scene, Bob crawls through Laura's window, as she says he has done since she was twelve and starts to have sex with her. She keeps asking him who he is and finally she gets a clear look at his face: it's her father.

Twin Peaks is a story about the trauma of incest.

This is one of the heaviest subjects a film can take, especially if it's serious about it (and otherwise, what's the point?). And the movie is haunting, chilling, horrifying in its presentation of Laura's bottomless pit of anguish. But it also tries to pass Leland Palmer's actions off as the machinations of an evil spirit. Bob tells Laura that he thought he had fooled her into thinking her rapist was her father, when it was in fact him - she didn't realize the reverse was true. But the reverse isn't really true. No matter how you cut it, the man who comes in her window is Leland Palmer, her father, and if Lynch tries to tell us otherwise he's just downplaying the shock value of his own material.

I'm a great believer in the powers of mysticism, the uncanny, surrealism, and the language of dreams, and I don't believe they are antithetical to serious subjects. But here there is the irresistible feeling that all of the movie's supernatural elements end up obfuscating, and hence, cheapening the movie's true heart of darkness. Part of me wishes that Lynch had abandoned the black lodge, and the dwarf, and Agent Cooper, and the dreams, and the FBI investigation. Keep Bob as a metaphor, certainly, a way to shed light on the power of denial. But focus the movie, honestly, on its appalling subject: the complete destruction of an innocent human being by the person closest to her.

I give Lynch credit for appearing to avoid all conscious attempts to play for laughs. He never tries to comfort or soothe his audience. But despite what he thinks, the story he has chosen to tell is not about evil as a metaphysical force, or links to the collective unconscious, or anything like that. It's about one very fucked-up girl and even if Twin Peaks is an important film, I really don't know if it's serious enough. And that bothers me.


Anonymous said...

I agree with your comments re Sheryl Lee's incredible performance as Laura Palmer, "we become astonished that we could be seeing anyone this emotionally naked." However, I would not discount the supernatural/spiritual elements of the story as you do. Evil is a real spiritual force in Lynch's universe, and one can become possessed by it. The fact that Laura herself faces the danger of becoming possessed by the same evil that possesses her father is one of the elements that makes this underated masterpiece so disturbing.

James Hansen said...

Interesting take on the film (and series) here. Sorry to hear you found the series to "jump the shark" or whatever. I actually prefer the second season and love it even after the question is answered, but I can understand people's frsutrating with it.

Anyways, I think what makes Lynch's work (all of it) so mystifying is exactly your objection to it. Lynch's work explores notions of evil and madness and anarchy and what is below of the surface of normal American(a) melodrama. I really really really vehemently disagree with Ebert's notions of sophmoric cheap shots and saying Lynch doesn't take his early work seriously (I say early work because Ebert has enjoyed Lynch's last couple features). It's not like "Fire Walk With Me" is making a game out of incest for us to laugh at; it is terrifying, it is real, and the evil always has a chance to take over anyone. However, this doesn't mean evil is everywhere, and that there aren't quirky people as well. If Lynch's films or the series of Twin Peaks lost its comedy, it would not only lose what makes it so entrancing, but the evil would have no counterbalance for it. If Lynch weren't taking the work seriously, do you really think it would have the effect on you (and many of us) that it does? Or do you just think it could have been more effective?

James Hansen said...

To clarify...I meant to say there would be no counterbalance for the evil in the show. It would just be evil and good...nothing in the middle. That middle, though, is Lynch's world. The balance and middle ground between pure evil and purity is present in all of his work (especially Blue Velvet), and is clearly evident in Twin Peaks. I think it is a really important facet of his work and part of what makes me love it all so much.

Joel Bocko said...

I tried to qualify the "seriously" with "enough" because there's no doubt Lynch treats the matter seriously. Even to the extent that he leaves out all the quirky charm of the show (something people - including the original cast members - obviously missed in the film). I think that was the right decision.

But my reaction was as much visceral as anything else - by the end of the film I was finding it hard to switch gears from the brutal, brutal reality of Laura's rape to the almost allegorical quality of the red room (which had been by far my favorite aspect of the series). I'm still troubled by it, but as Fire Walks With me lingers and grows in my memory, I'm increasingly convinced that it deserves to be considered a great work of art, flaws or no.

As for the second season, I have to admit second half of season 2 felt to me like a deflated balloon at first, though eventually I think some charm and interest came back in. But some of the very first storylines they came up with after Laura's death seem to be duds which is why they were abandoned so quickly (the mayor, his brother, and their girlfriend; the Cooper-suspended-by-the-FBI schtick, though it's admittedly amusing to see David Duchovney in a dress). Also, though things started to get a little more interesting when he came in, Windham Earle never really frightened me. Certainly not the way Bob did - which only made it more appropriate when Bob basically kicks his ass in the last episode. I also thought it was funny how Lynch, in the episode he directed, had Earle shine a flashlight under his face and deadpan, "I'm Windham Earle" almost as if he was mocking his pretensions to villainy. I think Lych did this a lot (another example being when he had Maddie, for apparently no reason, remove her glasses and break them in half -- as if some costumer had forced Sheryl Lee to wear them and Lynch thought she looked ridiculous). And I definitely suspect ulterior motives for the totally unexpected Gordon Cole-Shelly Johnson kiss (Lynch, you sly dog - and her blushing definitely seems genuine).

I can't wait to write about the whole show (the disc with special features arrives tomorrow).


Lynch acknowledges the movie will be a great departure from the TV series with beginning visual cue....

They smash a television.

I love this movie and this was a great write up. Don't know if I agree about the second season jumping the shark. It's been a while since I've watched it, but I'll see what I think when I'm done with them.

Anonymous said...

I have a double posture about your review. First I do think the movie captures Laura's descent into despair impeccably both visually, narrative-wise and acting-wise (Sheryl Lee's performance is so intense it gives me chills, you really feel that as you say, Palmer's despair was no prime time psychodrama matter but a true horror show)It has an emotional rawness and a harrowing quality that was clearly missing in the series, which was always under a veil of mystery and omen. But I disagree when seen from my Twin Peaks fan point of view...first the series although steeped in an aura of certain quirkiness, cannot be called goofy. All those supernatural forces, those unreachable mysteries, those turbulent secrets constituted a worldview that although not as bluntly shocking as Palmer's tragedy, were at least in subtext, part of a world of darkness, misery and uncertainty that was deeply disturbing. Weren't you disturbed by Josie Packard, a character showed such a degree of perversity and vice, that the fear of its consequences made her die? What about Leo Johnson? The secret Donna finds out at the end? The whole deal with Nadine Hurley? Weren't those stories as disturbing, maybe not so showingly so (again it was TV), but equally expository of Lynch's hellish worldview?
In that sense FWWM is faulty, it is valuable in as much it exposes Laura Palmer's fleshed out character, but shows so little of the show's nightmarish, evil obscurity, that all that's mysterious in the movie looks goofy and redundant, when clearly is not and constituted the true aesthetic and narrative core of the series.

Accomplished movie but not for Twin Peak geeks. And it also is much much more disturbing than Blue Velvet, which has almost identical themes.

Joel Bocko said...

Thanks for dropping by, Anon.

Truthfully, I have never been much disturbed - nor even particularly entertained - by most of the series' subplots, especially once it got knee-deep into the second season. I can see how these revelations you discuss COULD be enticing and disturbing, I just never really got on board with Josie Packard & especially not with Nadine.

Don't get me wrong; I love the show (and I hope you'll stick around and explore my episode-by-episode analysis if you get the chance) but to me, its primary interest lies in the diffuse, almost abstract air of menace Lynch and his co-creators cultivate and the mystery and tragedy of Laura Palmer, not so much the various subplots.

Agreed, though, that Fire Walk With Me is even more disturbing than Blue Velvet - or any other Lynch film I've seen, for that matter.

Anonymous said...

I never felt that the series took the emotional core of its characters seriously. They were fascinating but fascinating caricatures.

Twin Peaks the series was full of carnivalesque caricatures and the overall tone of unease and horror seemed somewhat superficial, although still brilliantly realised, because of that.

Fire Walk With Me walks knee-deep in its story and drives itself forward with brutal sincerity and seriousness. There is nothing extraneous in it.

It is one of the few films I can call a masterpiece.


Joel Bocko said...

Well, I'm certainly gratified to see that this & other Twin Peaks posts are still getting comments months later (even if they are all anonymous!).

Anon, you are absolutely right about the difference between the show and the movie. I like both - but there is no doubt the movie takes you deeper and removes the implicit safety net that the series employs (something I refer to in my series analysis, particularly the season 2 episodes). This is why it is so much more troubling - it doesn't let you off the hook like the TV show does, but in return you're not as inclined to let it off the hook for its mythologizing and occasional parody.

I liked your piece on your blog, too - left a comment over there.

Anonymous said...

Joel I first saw Fire Walk With Me in 1999-00. I had not seen the series yet ( I was about 12 when the show first appeared) and was rather indifferent towards it. For my girlfriend's birthday I purchased a few gifts for her and knowing she was a Twin Peaks fan, I got the definitive Gold DVD set with both seasons and the pilot. Prior to our current viewing of all the material I had seen a few episodes here and there on cable. While Lynch became one of my favorite directors since Lost Highway, Fire Walk With Me did not get my attention for a revisit.

At some point I did decide to acquire the film so we could see it after we finished both seasons. This would complete the whole experience and lay to rest my own Twin Peaks ignorance.

The first 16 episodes were all wonderful. After Leland's discovery of murder the show completely fizzled out for me. Episodes 17 and on were a real bore. The show became super quirky and light, with no direction. I know some people claim that the Windom Earle storyline picks things up again, but for me the show lost it's drive after Leland's death. I did enjoy the absolute last episode where Cooper gets possessed by Bob. It was a very negative but interesting way to end the series. You get the feeling that Lynch and Frost would of came back guns blazing if they could of done a third season.

My enthusiasm to watch Fire Walk With Me was very low. I just endured countless hours of shitty season 2 episodes and was looking to remove myself from Twin Peaks land. It took a lot to motivate me to finally pop on the DVD and watch the prequel.

I was quickly taken aback by the fact that this was a "film". The cinematography was splendid and was much more advanced than anything the TV show could offer (including the pilot). It was also much darker without all the quirkiness. The supernatural elements were toned down to instead emphasis that maybe Bob is just Laura's way of dealing with the pain of incest. A construct to handle the unimaginable pain. I think Lynch was right to add subplots and asides to the proceedings. The topic at hand is very intense and his decision to explore it head on without the surrealism would of been too much and maybe one note depressing (think The Road). Besides he still needed to make some concessions to his target audience lol.

I could go on and on about this movie. There are so many things I could write about. I think a third viewing will be even more illuminating. I will say that I loved the picture more than my girlfriend. As a much more committed fan to the show she was bemused by the change in tone and bleak intensity. I guess all the bad reviews could be directly linked to this important factor. Since I am a bigger Lynch fan than Twin Peaks fan I can appreciate his darker approach to the material.........M.Roca

Joel Bocko said...

Maurizio, thanks - a great comment which reflects a lot of my own thinking on the show. I couldn't stand the second half of season 2 and when I reviewed the whole series episode by episode I jumped from Leland's last episode to the finale which, like you, I thought was great.

Also the FWWM stylistic difference - Twin Peaks was very cinematic for TV but it was still TV, FWWM screams "film" from the opening credits. Like you I was relieved that Lynch didn't try to dress up the severe subject matter with too much fantasy but I found myself wishing it had been even more focused (still, that dreadful Pinnochio creature is absolutely chilling). No matter, the movie is so powerful I am compelled to take it warts and all. Besides, I think Bob and the portrait on the wall were both very strong devices here. And arguably the rest of it provides an important link to the show and continues the vital work of deepening and harshening (is that a word?) what we've already experienced on the series, defamiliarizing it and making us more aware of its dark reality.

Paul Hancy said...

Having just watched the series box set from start to finish in just four days I decided to buy Fire Walk with me to see whether the movie could or would even try capture the sheer quirkiness of the series. It didn't, and I think that was the right decision. However, like you, I don't belive the movie should have clarified whether or not Bob was indeed an evil spirit. Those who watched the show already knew he was. We didn't need to be told again. I also agree about the opening sequence being unnecessarily long and drawn out and while the story needed to include information about the murder of Theresa Banks, these scenes did nothing to enhance the movie at all, just added length to the running time. Instead more time could have been given to the characterisation of Laura Palmer. Sheryl Lee's performance was riveting and I felt a little robbed by the extra screen time she could have had were it not for the length of the opening sequence. All of which brings me back to Bob. This movie was seen through the eyes of a tormented teenager brutalised by her incestuous father. Whether he was possessed by an evil spirit or not was almost superfluous to the plot because, while we already know he was, Laura didn't. For all she knew her mind had created this lecherous, vile creature to protect herself from the truth that she was in fact being violated by her own father. This movie was about Laura Palmer, not about Twin Peaks and its quirks and convoluted population and, quite rightly, the original characters from the show were shown from a periforal viewpoint. I understand the need for some apects of the series to be included, if for no other reason than to placate the die hard followers of the original show. But the inclusion of the black lodge, the man from another place and even Mike somehow, I feel, detracted from the suffering she endured, more so emotionally as the realisation that her attacker was in fact her father dawned on her. This was a dark film with a dark subject. The images from the lodge somehow trivialised it slightly, not because they aren't part of the overall storyline, we already know they are, but because Laura herself had no prior knowledge of them. All in all I thought the movie was a good one (opening sequence excepted) and I am surprised we haven't seen Sheryl Lee in far more prominent roles since although it may be because she will always be known as the dead girl from Twin Peaks

Joel Bocko said...

Bingo Paul, and thanks for dropping by. The fact is the movie is sort of two things at once: a meditation and translation of the show from TV terms into movie terms (making it darker and richer), and quite simply the story of Laura Palmer shorn of any (necessary) associations to the show. I think, like you, the second aspect is ultimately the most compelling and essential, and the first takes away from this somewhat. It isn't so much that I dislike those elements (the long intro, the weird mystic stuff) as that they butt up agains the Laura stuff, which is even better.

Despite my ambivalence, the film recently made a personal top 50. I also own it yet haven't watched it since I wrote this review. I suppose that says something too.

Mike said...

Is it OK if I skip the show and go straight for this? The series doesn't sound like my cup of tea- the pilot left a bad taste in my mouth, I found the quirky humor and Lynch's mocking of small town culture to mesh poorly with the seriousness of a murder mystery. I'd probably warm to it eventually but I don't really want to start another series right now. And this essay (and comments) have really sparked my interest in the film version.

Joel Bocko said...

Others have, and liked it. I'd be kind I interested in your take if you do. A lot of the film will seem confusing if you haven't seen the series but at the same time, that's kind of the stuff that doesn't make much sense even if you HAVE seen it haha. The emotional stuff at the core, Laura Palmer's trials and travails, are interestingly amplified by having seen the series, but don't require it.

Mike said...

Well I've seen the film now and, as I expected, it was very confusing, but also powerful on a basic emotional level that I got without knowing the characters and their outcomes. It is the most disturbing thing I've ever seen, and now as I read more about it, it's becoming even more horrifying in hindsight. The first half of the film did seem rather odd, as if Lynch was testing the patience of his audience. I just don't think it's good filmmaking; I've been reading a lot on this film recently and not a single person makes a valid claim for the importance of the first half. The biggest supporters of the film say that it makes the reveal of Twin Peaks (the town and the theme music) all the more ironic, but there are ways to make that reveal feel ironic without basically wasting everyone's time with a useless plotline (who cares about Teresa Banks? Even Lynch himself said he did the film to examine Laura Palmer more closely, and we don't even see her until halfway through? Come on man!)

The second half is what makes the film, clearly. I think the tone at this point worked very well, even with all of the supernatural elements. The red room scenes, the dreams, it all made the film more disorienting and immediate. I didn't find anything here distracting to the main focus of the film, which is Leland Palmer's incest with and murder of Laura Palmer. It's like Mulholland Drive, essentially a melodrama about a starlet who comes to Hollywood only to get her dreams broken, told in a unique way that really heightens the drama. I love a good piece of gritty realism, but truthfully, incest is a topic in a film that needn't be portrayed so starkly. It's a lot more horrifying when we see BOB being revealed as Leland when he is making love to Laura then if Leland was simply shown in the act. It allows us to see how evil manifests itself without us (more importantly Laura) even noticing. That's my two cents anyways.

Joel Bocko said...

Glad you liked it, and perhaps I'll watch it again soon & return with further thoughts. I actually haven't seen it since I wrote this review 5 years ago, almost as if it was so powerful that I felt I had to keep my distance. I didn't mind the first half so much when I first saw it though I do remember being antsy for Laura to appear. I think it's mostly shown to explicitly distance the film from the series. Since that simultaneously alienates fans of the show (who feel insulted for their affection) and people who never watched it (since they don't get the references) I guess it's unsurprising the film was a flop. It's too bad, though, that so many turned off by these sequences couldn't see the brilliance of the Laura sequences, especially Sheryl Lee's performance (the post I wrote right after this took critics to task for that oversight).

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