David Lynch strikes again with this literal nightmare of a motion picture--a brilliant, scathing, hysterical, and haunting ode to Hollywood. In the film, a mysterious dark-haired woman (Laura Elena Harring) emerges from an accident with a purse full of cash and a head full of amnesia. Meanwhile, Betty Elms (Naomi Watts), a wide-eyed gal from Deep River, Ontario, has just landed in Los Angeles with dreams of movie super stardom. When Betty finds the nameless beauty in her aunt's apartment, she is deeply intrigued by the situation and offers to help her. This sends the two women on a bizarre search for the truth through the macabre, sun-soaked streets of the City of Angels, where the mob, a young film director (Justin Theroux), a studio executive with a tiny head, and an enigmatic figure named the Cowboy all float into the picture, then out again, until there is no longer any distinction between what is dream and what is reality.
Originally filmed as a pilot for ABC, Lynch's daring, open-ended vision was coldly rejected by the network. As he was about to abandon the project, French producer Pierre Edelman convinced Lynch to rethink it as a feature. The result is this stunning expression of the subconscious, a testament to the power of personal artistic vision.
Cannes Best Director 2001 David Lynch American director