WARNING: This review contains spoilers;  you may want to see some Twin Peaks if you haven’t or  would like to, before reading, unless you dislike surprises and twists.

This one I recommend!

Haunting; Beautifully Surreal

The life of Laura Palmer, before she was mysteriously murdered, is told in greater detail in the prequel film to David Lynch’s TV series Twin Peaks.

Cooper encountering David Bowie.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is probably the most interesting David Lynch-film of the 90’s – I was not very fond of Wild At Heart and Lost Highway, although I need to see those again – as it tells the backstories of characters I grew to like over the course of Twin Peaks, most of which are played once more by their respective actors in the show, the exception being Donna, whose original actor Lara Flynn Boyle was replaced by Moira Kelly.

The story begins with two FBI Agents, Chester Desmond (Chris Isaak) and Sam Stanley (Kiefer Sutherland) being instructed by their superior Gordon Cole, played once more by Lynch himself, to go investigate the case of the recently murdered Teresa Banks. As they find Banks’ body and examine it, they find a tiny piece of paper with a letter on it, underneath her fingernail. Any Twin Peaks fan will recognise this as a murder commited by the being known as BOB.

Meanwhile, something strange happens to Agent Dale Cooper, played once again by Kyle MacLachlan, at the FBI HQ where he, Cole and Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) encounter an agent who has been gone for many years – Phillip Jeffries, played by none other than David Bowie. Jeffries attempts to explain that he has been stuck in a dark, sinister realm known as The Black Lodge. Instead he simply vanishes again, and strangely, so does Desmond.

The film then jumps to one year later and we meet Laura Palmer, portrayed again by Sheryl Lee, in the small town of Twin Peaks. Now we get to see alot of what we had been told in the TV-series; Laura cheating on her boyfriend Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook) with James Hurley (James Marshall), her involvment with criminals such as Leo Johnson (Eric Da Re) and Jacques Renault, how she asks help from Harold Smith (Lenny Van Dohlen) to hide her top secret diary, how strange things begin to happen to her father Leland (Ray Wise) and, of course, how she starts seeing inhabitants of The Black Lodge in her bedroom, especially BOB.

The Black Lodge; from left to right: a statue, The Man From Another Place, Killer BOB, MIKE and a hovering Leland.

Cooper, meanwhile, tries to explain to Rosenfield that what will happen and what does happen to Laura is constantly told to him in strange dreams, in which he, too, meets inhabitants of The Black Lodge, such as a weird dwarf known as The Man From Another Place, played once more by Michael J. Anderson. Rosenfield is having a hard time believing him, of course.

Reprising their roles from TV-show are also Mädchen Amick as Shelly, Phoebe Augustine as Ronette Pulaski, Al Strobel as MIKE the one-armed man, Peggy Lipton as Norma Jennings, Catherine E. Coulson as The Log Lady and – who could ever forget? – the late Frank Silva as Killer BOB.

Like I said, this is a movie I enjoyed more than any movie Lynch made during the 90’s, and I can tell that Lynch had a bit more control here than when he was working alongside Mark Frost on the TV-series; the music, the bizarre way in which the characters act, the editing, the visuals, the dialogue (which consists of even more cryptic phrases this time around), the acting, the cinematography – everything seems more Lynchian than it was in the TV-series. But I am a fan, after all, so I can give this film Thumbs Up.

I was a bit bugged by Kyle MacLachlan, though. I’ve been informed that he never actually wanted to reprise his role as Dale Cooper, which is a bit obvious as he seems bored and uninterested whenever he’s on-screen. I am certain I’m not the only one who got this impression when watching his few scenes in the film. It also bugged me how there was not enough David Bowie in the film; he only appears briefly and his role counts as a cameo, at best. Other than that, and the fact that Sheryl Lee’s screaming and yelling got irritating sometimes, I liked this movie.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is a prequel-film that will leave some Twin Peaks-fans even more confused than they already were, but others will try to analyse it and figure out what the film actually manages to explain. It may have infuriated some fans, but satisfied most fans, I believe.

Now, I could not find a good trailer for the film, so just enjoy this surreal scene where David Bowie remembers The Black Lodge.

4/5 whatever.