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New Line Home Cinema presents
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992)

Special Agent Dale Cooper: Lately I've been filled with the knowledge that the killer will strike again.Agent Albert Rosenfield: Alright, let's test it for the record. Will the next victim be a man or a woman?Cooper: A woman.Albert: What color hair will she have?Cooper: Blonde.Albert: Tell me some other things about her.Cooper: She's young, she's in high school, she's sexually active, she's taking drugs, she's crying out for help.Albert: Well Cooper, that really narrows it down, you're talking about half the high school girls in America!
- Kyle MacLachlan, Miguel Ferrer

Review By: Daniel Hirshleifer  
Published: February 26, 2002

Stars: Sheryl Lee, Kyle MacLachlan, Ray Wise, Dana Ashbrook, Moira Kelly, Michael J. Anderson
Other Stars: Dana Ashbrook, Phoebe Augustine, David Bowie, David Lynch, Harry Dean Stanton, Chris Isaak, Kiefer Sutherland, Miguel Ferrer, James Marshall, Grace Zabriskie, Frank Silva, Walter Olkewicz
Director: David Lynch

Manufacturer: wamo
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, sex, drug content, and language
Run Time: 02h:14m:42s
Release Date: February 26, 2002
UPC: 794043508127
Genre: cult


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A+ A-A-A C+

DVD Review

For a while, Twin Peaks was inescapable. Just about everyone and their mother's uncle wanted to know who killed Laura Palmer. The first season of Twin Peaks was wry, gripping, and subtly surreal. Then the second season began. Quickly, people realized it was going to be a lot more Lynchian in tone, and many viewers were turned off. Even when Palmer's killer was revealed, the outright surrealism and ever-changing time slots resulted in a backlash from the public. Even so, Lynch went ahead and made a feature film about the last week of Laura Palmer's life. The film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, got booed when it premiered at Cannes, and to this day the common conception of the film is that it is Lynch's worst, after Dune. However, watching it ten years later, separated from all the public hubbub, the film comes off as a very artful and harrowing piece of work.Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me opens with Special Agent Chester Desmond (Chris Isaak) and Agent Sam Stanley (Kiefer Sutherland) investigating the murder of Teresa Banks (Pamela Gidley). They find a small piece of paper with the letter "T" under one of her fingernails, and notice she has a ring missing. Desmond finds the ring under her trailer and promptly disappears. In Philadelphia, F.B.I. Regional Bureau Chief Gordon Cole (David Lynch), Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), and Agent Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) have a run-in with Phillip Jeffries (David Bowie), an ex-special agent who went missing two years previous. He tells a disjointed and disconcerting story that befuddles the agents. They receive word of Desmond's disappearance, and Cooper is put on the case. The story then cuts ahead one year and moves to Twin Peaks. The film then focuses on Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) who, on the surface, is the perfect student and homecoming queen. She has a boyfriend, Bobby (Dana Ashbrook), a lover, James (James Marshall), a drug problem, and an overprotective father, Leland (Ray Wise). In other words, her seemingly perfect live is a sham, and she's moving in a downward spiral until the inevitable ending that begins the TV series.While the events of Fire Walk With Me may take place before the events of the TV series, make no mistake, this film should only be seen after seeing both seasons of the show. The movie not only gives away who killed Laura Palmer, but also makes references to things that aren't explained until the second season of the show. The movie is also far more explicit and drawn in a different style than the show. So a new viewer would find the film disorienting, confusing and graphic, and it would ruin the fun of watching the events of the show unfold. The ending of Fire Walk With Me proves that the film is indeed a bookend to the entire phenomenon, and can only be appreciated if the viewer has seen the show.That being said, the rewards of the film are bountiful, but are buried under layers of surrealism and downright confusion, more often than not. The scene where Phillip Jeffries returns to the FBI is one of the most bizarre scenes Lynch has filmed since Eraserhead, and at times these aspects can be overwhelming, especially since the film is ostensibly rooted in reality. Once you get used to the surrealism, you still have to deal with the fact that some things in the Twin Peaks universe will never be explained, and that can be confusing. Who is the lady in Teresa Banks' trailer? What happens to Agent Desmond? Does he become The Man From Another Place (Michael J. Anderson)? What exactly is the relationship between Bob (Frank Silva), The One Armed Man (Al Strobel), and Leland Palmer? Like the rest of Lynch's work, some things are open to interpretation. If you liked Lost Highway, you'll have no problem with this movie, since it's straightforward in comparison.If you can accept this film as Lynch has handed it to us, you'll find that, as Al Strobel says in the accompanying documentary on the disc, that this is not a film, but a work of art. Fire Walk With Me may represent the pinnacle of Lynch's use of color; there are the deep reds of the Black Lodge, the blues, reds, and strobes of the Pink Room, the blacks and blues of Laura's bedroom at night, and more. Many of the shots look like still paintings come to life, such as the tracking shot of all the cigarettes and beer bottles on the floor of the Pink Room, or, in a more literal case, the picture of the entrance to the Black Lodge in Laura's dream becoming real. On a purely visual level, this may be Lynch's most sumptuous work. The story ignores most of the cast of the TV show to focus on Laura and the people immediately involved with her. At first this seems like the story is incomplete, but Lynch tried to include more storylines and characters and ended up with about five hours of footage with two almost entirely separate stories, so it's probably better that there aren't as many characters as in the show. The climax of the film is the most intense thing Lynch has filmed since that of Eraserhead, and the denouement is a beautiful farewell to the fans of the series, and the perfect end to the whole Twin Peaks saga.

Rating for Style: A+
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The transfer on this DVD is like a revelation. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me has never been correctly presented on home video until this release. All other laserdiscs or DVDs of this title have either been in the wrong aspect ratio, incorrectly framed even in the correct aspect ratio, or too dirty to be worthwhile. But this new edition gets it right. The colors, which I mentioned before as being very important to this film, are all as bright and intense as Lynch wanted them to be. Not only that, there's no color bleeding, and there's an attention to detail on this transfer that was lacking in all other releases. The result is a rich and vibrant transfer that is gorgeous and a pleasure to watch. There are a some scratches and nicks on the print, but not an overwhelming amount, and no single mark is too distracting.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Frenchyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes
DTSEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me come with Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS soundtracks, mixed to David Lynch's specifications. There's not much difference between the two (in fact, of all the DTS/DD 5.1 comparisons I've ever done, this disc has the least difference between the two mixes). Both versions are very subtle. Lynch wanted them mixed lower than most discs are, to set the correct atmosphere. When you turn it up, you find that the dialogue and sound effects are very clear and crisp and easy to understand. And this is the best Angelo Badalamenti's score has ever sounded, which is really a treat, since his soundtrack here is one of the best of his career.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 40 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Documentaries
Packaging: Snapper
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extras Review: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me was originally planned as a New Line Platinum Edition release, and it was to include the documentary that is on this disc, and Lynch had selected several deleted scenes , but they needed new sound mixes, and New Line didn't own the rights to the scenes. The studio negotiated with the French company that owns the rights for years, but in the end, they decided not to pay for them. This is a real let down for long time fans, and the disappointment is compounded when we look at the documentary, which is a collection of interviews with members of the cast. Now, this isn't the problem, since many of the interviews seemed interesting; the problem is in the editing. For some reason, either the producers or New Line decided that the documentary should only be half an hour long. So many of the "interviews" are short clips of an actor saying half a sentence before they're cut off. Sometimes they'll just cut to an actor laughing and then cut to someone else. There's no structure. It needs some organization, such as topic headings, and longer interview clips. There is also just the general release trailer, but not even the R-rated U.S. version. Considering what this disc could have had, what we get is very disappointing. (Something to note: Lynch does not like chapter stops on DVDs, so there are no chapter listings on the box, nor a chapters menu. However, the film is divided into 40 chapters, which you can access using your remote).

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

As much as I love Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, I must say that it is an acquired taste, and one of David Lynch's least accessible films. However, it is also one of his most rewarding, especially for Twin Peaks fans. But be warned, this movie has evoked a wide range responses from people with seemingly similar tastes. Some people think it is Lynch's absolute best, while others think it's his worst. Personally, I think it's a very good movie that is neither, but a strong film that is sometimes intense, sometimes beautiful, but always distinctly Lynchian.

 


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