Lost Highway Critical Analysis
Lost Highway critical analysis by Hyde
Although many consider LH to consist of dream sequences and out of order senerios, I believe it entirely possible that it is in order, but done in the style of surrealism, making it difficult to follow.
Perhaps the best way to explain lost highway, is look into this fairy tale formed annalysis and apply it to the film.
Although David Lynch has reportedly denounced there being any complete plot connection to Lost Highway, revealing it as almost nonsensical in a story line sense but with connections purely in symbolism with emotional and poetic meaning, I enjoy alternate interpretations of the film. If you want to find a plot rather than simply turning off your mind and watching the surreal, here is one that works very well.
Once there was a man who's life was empty. He lived only in darkness, with his wife becoming more of a hated image than a companion. The hatred between them was unspoken, but there was no love, only misery. One day, the man heard the voice of the Devil while he sat alone in his home. The words he heard the devil speak, sent chills through him in a way he had never anticipated, and he remembered the words, being they were an announcement of death.
The man had dreams of killing his wife, and would awaken to the face of the devil pressed up against his, only to be later replaced by the look of his wife. All the while, the man recieved notices on his front porch step, showing illustrations into this empty and dull life.
One night, the man attended a party with his wife. The Devil attended too. When the devil approached him, the man claimed to not know the devil, but the devil assured him that he was even then present in his home. When the man asked the host of the party who the mystery man (the devil) was, the host could only say he was a friend of someone else. What surprised our leading man isn't that the host didn't know the stranger, but that the name of the mutual aquaintance the host mentioned to have with the mystery man (the devil) was part of the devi'ls words of death that our leading man had first heard whispered at his home.
The man returned home to his empty house, to his empty life. The next day, another notice came in the mail, illustrating the man standing over his dead and mutilated wife.
But how could this be? He never killed his wife...or did he? He claims his innocents but begins to believe his guilt anyway, despite the fact that he has no memory of committing the crime. Although no mention of a body being found comes into the story, no body is neccessary, being the murder seems to be on video. The man is seen, disoriented and dazed...standing over the body of his dead wife. Case closed.
But things are not what they seem. Perhaps the man didn't commit this crime of murder. The thoughts run through him as he begins to suffer severe headaches.
We now see an image of a YOUNG MAN on a rode, and the young man's family
calling him and telling him not to go to the road.
A night passes.
When our leading man's jail cell is inspected, he is no longer there. The YOUNG MAN has replaced him. The police are baffled, and can't explain how the older man dissapeared from a maximum security jail cell, and a younger man appeared in his place. They release the younger man, and the young man's parents assure him that
they will not inform the police of what they SAW him do THAT night. They only tell him that they saw him with a strange man they had never met before. We also know that the young man had dealings with this strange man, since we saw the earlier images of the young man's family calling to him not to go away with the man.
However, it isn't important what they saw the young man do with this mystery
man (perhaps the devil). It is only important that it is too horrible to say aloud.
The Young man has a affair with a beautiful blonde who looks EXACTLY like the original leading man's wife. She is seeing the young man behind the back of a mobster, who vows to kill anyone else who touches her without his permission. The name of the mobster is the echoeing of the devil's first words at our leading man's house.
The Young man is harrassed and threatened by the mobster who calls him by the phone. While on the phone, the mobster asks the young man to talk to a friend of his, and we see that the friend is the same mystery man (the devil) from the party early in our story. The devil again insisted that he has met the young man before, and had dealings at his house. It is here it is confirmed that in the night the young man's parents refuse to speak about is the night the boy had his dealings with the devil. Whatever deal was made, part of it was to replace the leading man in his jail cell, for that was the same night that the young man dissapeared and his parents begged him not to go with the devil.
The young man and the blonde decide to run off together by robbing the host of the earlier party, but accidently kill him in the process. On the way to leave, the young man sees a picture on the mantel of the house. Through the young man's eyes, we see two women in the picture, one blonde and one brunnete. They look identical except for their hair. They are standing with the host and the mobster, and we can see that the two women are the blonde, AND our leading man's wife. The young man asks, "Are they both you?" But the blonde only responds by pointing BETWEEN the two women and saying, "That's me."
The young man and the blonde go to the desert to meet a fence and trade their stolen goods for money. However, the fence isn't there when they arrive. The young man and the blonde make love by the headlights of his car, only for the young man to confess that no matter what, he wants the blonde forever. As they finish, she merely whispers that he will NEVER have her. She walks away into the fences empty cabin, leaving the young man alone.
Or is this still the young man? We know the young man AND our leading man both had dealings with the devil. We know that both the young man's lover, AND the wife of our leading man look identical AND use their love partners for their own selfish needs. Whatever dealings the young man had with the devil is now over. The young
man had a chance with a woman he love and cared for, not like the empty relationship he had with other girlfriends. But like all dealings with the devil, the young man didn't get what he wanted....for the woman didn't love him back. She only used him.
Now, the young man is replaced by our leading man once again. Our leading man has been there, the whole time, inside the young man....waiting. He also had another chance with a beautiful woman, but was used. But it is time for his revenge. That was the deal...escape, murder, and revenge....but not murder of his wife, but murder of the man who had caused ALL this pain and torment.
For his dealings with the devil that we know of, could only be motivated by hatred, as the devil announces he never goes where he isn't invited. The devil approaches our leading man in the desert, the man asks the devil where the blonde girl is. The devil laughs and says there was no blonde girl....only his wife the whole time.
At the hosts house, where the police are cleaning up the body, we see there really was only one woman the whole time. For the picture of the two women that the young man had asked the blonde about is now shown...but no longer through the young man's eyes. The reason the blonde seemed to point between the two women is because there was only one woman in the picture...the young man simply couldn't see it. It was our leading man's wife.
The police notice this, and see that it must be the leading man's wife in all the situations, both pornographic and coincidental. She was never killed. No mention of a body being found was ever brought up in the story. Only that it was shown on video.
The disoriented leading man, under some kind of influence, had been video taped standing over what looked to be the body of his wife. Thus eliminating him from his wife's life forever. She then became the blonde, and lived with the gangster, only to seduce the young man and use him the same way she used her husband.
Our leading man sees all of this now. The devil had made a deal with the gangster to help his wife get rid of him by putting him in prison for murder...perhaps in a way he was guilty of murder, for he wanted to kill his wife. Perhaps he even tried. The devil had made a deal with the young man, for the young man to have the exact woman he always wanted, and in exchange the young man traded placed with our leading man, so that our leading man could escape from death row. But the young man also lost his chance for happiness, for by replacing the leading man, he could only be hurt the way the leading man was when he fell for the same woman.
But now the leading man was back. It was time for him to get what he wanted. What price would he have to pay for the devil's help? The man went to a hotel where his wife was having sex with the gangster. Many may say this is a moment depicting an earlier murder....but the woman now wears a brown wig. The gangster liked that sometimes. It was her natural color. Soon, she would be able to lose the blonde die and get her original color back, once the police stopped snoopping around. After his wife leaves, our leading man kidnapps the gangster and takes him to the desert. The gangster asks why the leading man is doing what he is doing, and the devil makes the leading man show the gangster images of his infidelity with the leading man's wife. The devil and the leading man kill the gangster, and the devil has done his part of the deal. Now it is the man's turn. The devil whispers into our leading man's ear what he must do....and the devil dissapears.
The man now knows he will end up on the bad side of this deal. Just like all the others, dealings with the devil NEVER pay off. He knows he will be chased by police, and either get caught, or go mad and die as he is pursued by them. But first, he must forfill his obligation. First, he must do what the devil whispered to him in the desert, and go back to his old house to speak the very words that first sent chills through him, letting them echoe through his empty home. He must speak the chilling and now fullfilled words that he first heard from the devil's lips.