The second Kermode Uncut Film Club choice is David Lynch's magnificent 1992 horror movie. Watch this introduction and let me know what you think of the film.

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  • Comment number 166. Posted by rossa

    on 27 Apr 2013 22:30

    I am an admirer of David Lynch. I saw films like Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive several times in the cinema when they were released.

    I have just watched FWWM for the first time tonight.

    The soundtrack is very special. And as with all David Lynch films the acting is superb.

    The first part of the film is wonderful - quirky, mysterious, witty dialogue.

    Then the story of Laura Palmer begins. Sheryl Lee is really extraordinary in a very difficult role.

    I found the movie to be intensely moving. This woman who has undergone such horrific sexual abuse from her father. Her addiction to drugs. Her prostitution as a symptom of her desperation.We see her raped and ultimately brutally murdered.

    James - who cares sincerely for her - adds to the tragedy. His love for her is doomed amidst all the abuse that has ravaged her.

    I viewed the film not as horror but as a tragedy. Sweetness and innocence are overcome by pain, abuse and savagery.

    I feel so much for Laura as I watch this film. I want to reach out to help her.

    Intensely moving film making and such bravery from Sheryl Lee.

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  • Comment number 165. Posted by Jon

    on 22 Jan 2013 18:57

    I remember seeing the TV show, when I was (probably to young to be watching it) and seeing Sheryl Lee and genuinly thinking "Wow that girl is really gifted, has that something" I think to captivate an entire generation, and have one of the best Directors in the world re-write you into a show is also a great indication of talent (had it gone on, the TV show, he would have written her in again! as yet a third charachter apparently). I saw the film in my late teens, it just came on TV one night, and was completely blown away. I had gotton so use to actors on screen mumbling through lines, being perfectly still and saying it was "truthful" that to see the cast of fire walk with me, go through the motions of the complex, disturbing world of twin peaks with bravery and completely boundless and seeing charachterization of the townsfolk that is, as in reality, often larger than life (we all know those people, yet they rarely make it on to the screen) I was amazed. I watched the film again recently and still felt it is an amazingly well crafted movie, beautifully cinematic, and it did for me what all great films do, I'm still thinking about it! It is, I agree at its essence a great horror movie, and It really stands up on its own as just that, were as the TV show, had lots of wonderful elements and at times a campy soap opera underline (sending that up brilliantly) I felt the film went for me, exactly were I wanted it to, which was an insight to the life of a groundbreaking, brilliant charachter, Laura Palmer. I have seen Sheryl lee's other work, I think that she has to be one of the most underated actresses of this time,. There is no pouting, mumbling, downplaying, for the sake of "truth" she plays every scene beautifully, bravely, unlike anything I have seen since in a young starlet (how did the performance go unnoticed) I saw a review from the time that said..."In fire walk with me, Laura Palmer seems more like a teenage brat"..amongst other battering of the film...I am suprised that intelligent people in the industry of reviewing films, could describe a central charachter, who is a tortured soul, abused, intelligent, addicted, as yet another moody teen!!! er huh! I think that was the story of twin peaks, its heart, and when we discovered her fate, her killer and the TV series went on, we were, a bit bored really! For me, I am a fan of this film, its up there with my favourites, and I wish there was more acting on this kind of level in film. I have seen many a dire film, and to think this work got the hammering it did, is really baffling. The score is beautifully haunting, it looks brilliant, its provoking, and the performances are incredable. I hope it takes on a new life, with a new generation, maybe not even those that will link it to the TV series, which was also great, but look at it for what it is and that's really magnificent. The juxtaposition between beauty and horror, in middleclass America...I mean whats not to love!!!

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  • Comment number 164. Posted by Rob

    on 14 Jan 2013 00:57

    i disagree with the idea of enjoying it as a horror movie. i enjoyed it like i enjoyed twin peaks even though it was a different experience. i enjoyed it like i enjoyed twin peaks because it does fill in alot of the gaps both the plot gaps and the emotional gaps. the plot gaps that im talking about are things like the whole thing about creamed corn. the log lady asks us in one of the twin peaks episodes "what is creamed corn? is it a symbol for something else?" and in fire walk with me we find out that it is referred to as garmonbozia which means pain and sorrow, and the creamed corn is eaten by mikes left arm (the little red dwarf) in the black lodge. they eat peoples pain and sorrow. thats pretty cool!
    the emotional gap it filled in was of course the ascension of laura palmer into heaven. BEAUTIFUL!
    Another thing that mark mentions is how twin peaks "run's out of steam" now this is true but only because ABC made lynch and frost reveal laura palmers killer. this mystery was the engine driving the show and all the other mysteries, ideas and sub-plots in it, and without that engine everything fell apart because the main reason why we watched the show in the first place had evaporated. but i think fire walk with me is amazing and david lynch is a cinematic genius, and although flawed twin peaks is the greatest serial drama of all time!

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  • Comment number 163. Posted by alframseysporndungeon66

    on 2 Sept 2012 21:55

    Lynch's ability to distort commonplace occurrences of the everyday infiltrates the viewers sense of comfort and hurls them into a world of surreal torment which is simultaneously terrifying and gripping. This is the beating heart of FWWM.

    There is an inevitable connection with twin peaks; however, unlike Twin Peaks, humour is completely absent from the piece, which assuaged the viewer's unease through out the series as the realisation that Lealand Plamer sexually assaulted and murdered his daughter uneasily cements it's place at the core of the plot.

    In FWWM the tension is unrelenting and changes in scene serve to intensify the suspense as Laura Palmer's fragile state of mind unravels as she spirals into a furious path of demise fuelled by cocaine addiction. She is made further vulnerable by her inability to discern between those she can trust and those she can't.

    The subversion of the traditional home coming queen raises metaphysical inquiry into the mistaken assertion of the ideal self over the less palatable corporeality of the true self.

    And this is what makes FWWM thoroughly engaging from Start to finish; similar to the demise of hamlet,the viewer is allowed to witness the distruction of family unity and the tragedy that ensues, only to experienc a meagre element of relief arriving as the film concludes.

    The power of Badalamemti's composition throughout imbues the mood of each scene perfectly, augmenting Lynch's ability to modulate the varying sensations of his audience. No more so is this evident during the bar scene whereby we witness A tearful Laura Palmer reluctantly submit herself to an unknown stranger before intervening to presevere the sanctity of her best friend.

    It's these stark injections of soberiety into the storyline that make FWWM so horrifying; Lynch manages to seemlessly weave between the absurd and the acceptable which enables the viewer to contemplate the most repugnant elements of the storyline as conceivable in a very real sesnse.

    We see Lealand Palmer, a prominent member of the community committ a gruesome murder whilst simultaneously percivering to conceal his latent ability to murder again from his suffering family and especially Laura.

    Perhaps FWWM isnt entirely coherent in terms of the way the scenes hang together, which could be one of the reasons the film was poorly recieved when first released. However, the punctured and disrupted way the film hangs together only further signifies the uneasy relationship between comfort and unease, reality and the unacceptable which Lynch portrays through the failing of two of the most steadfast suburban American icons; the home coming queen and successful local businessman.

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  • Comment number 162. Posted by DrGaine

    on 28 Jul 2012 20:10

    Bother, I was too late to comment before Mark's response! Oh well, serves me right for dawdling.

    I have not seen a lot of Lynch's work, only "The Elephant Man" and "Blue Velvet". "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me" absolutely blew me away. It was rich, vibrant, weird, compelling and creepy as hell. I absolutely agree with Mark that it is a great horror film, and much like the work of Guillermo Del Toro blurs the boundaries between "natural" and "supernatural" horror. Is it psychosexual? Is it demonic? Not knowing makes it both more frightening and more emotional - I was pleading that Laura would live even though I knew she wouldn't. Thumbs up, a brilliant film.

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  • Comment number 161. Posted by JTGGardner

    on 25 Jul 2012 19:09

    Being two months old and on the other side of the world when 'Twin Peaks' first aired, I must own up to never having seen the TV series, and had never actually heard of it until you brought this film up, Mark. As such, I knew nothing about the plot/characters/themes etc, and, judging from some of the things you're said, and what others have said, I'm actually quite relieved that this is the case! I LOVED the film and on occasion was downright terrified (the sight of Bob crawling through the window still pops up in dreams). I'd certainly say it was, above all, a horror film -- more so than the other Lynch films I've seen (possibly barring 'Inland Empire' which really freaked me out in places), but of course there are so many further levels to it. I'm very glad to hear you praising Badalamenti's soundtrack, for I was honestly blow away by it. It is so hauntingly-memorable and fits the images on screen with utter perfection. Unlike some of those writing above, I personally enjoyed the 'confusion', and think that 'knowing who the murderer is' would totally distract from the pleasure of my first viewing. (Then again, this is someone who found 'Inland Empire' mesmerisingly-engaging; Lynch just seems to tick my boxes) Thanks for taking the time to make this 'club' a reality! (It would be great to see it on a fortnightly basis rather than once a month?) Keep up the good work!

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  • Comment number 160. Posted by tarlow00

    on 24 Jul 2012 17:40

    Of course, I meant "Lee and Wise" near the end of my previous comment, not "Lynch and Wise." What, no edit function? D'oh!

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  • Comment number 159. Posted by NoiseOnTrial

    on 23 Jul 2012 23:02

    Glad I watched this. Lynch always manages to conjure up some extremely compelling - not to mention disturbing - images, and every movie of his seems to incorporate some kind of gateway to Hell. Present are the typical Lynchian 'god' characters, and the sense that your fate isn't in your hands. Of course, the story leaves a lot to be desired, but the music is superb, and Sheryl Lee is absolutely, 100% sublime in her role. Kermode was right on those points at least.

    All in all, one of the weaker Lynch films, but not to be missed anyway.

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  • Comment number 158. Posted by MCos

    on 23 Jul 2012 15:38

    While we are on the topic, with Breathless and TPFWWM, of films that are either divisive or in need of reappraisal.....

    Any chance of Kenneth Branagh's "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" in the film club?

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  • Comment number 157. Posted by John

    on 23 Jul 2012 11:28

    This film is an extraordinary achievement, a sensitive portrayal of child abuse and a genuinely unnerving horror movie, without a single moment of exploitation.
    The scene showing the murder of Laura Palmer is confirmation of David Lynch's supreme intelligence. The huge majority of the audience knew what was going to happen and when it was going to happen, but most importantly, not how. I was lucky enough to see this film at a cinema (it required a train journey), and that scene is the one that confirmed the importance of seeing a film in a cinema. The use of torches to light the railway carriage interior, Sheryl Lee's performance of a terrified woman absolutely certain of her imminent death at the hands of her father and most astonishing of all, Cherubini's Requiem Mass used for the soundtrack.
    Thank you Mark for supporting one of those rare films that can actually be described as important.

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