8 July 2014 | wandereramor
Cold, like a turkey
After the cancellation of Twin Peaks, there were a lot of questions left unresolved and the series's general meaning was unclear. The fans that had remained through the show's second-season decline doubtlessly wanted a conclusion to the show's many narrative strands. A feature film could have provided a sense of closure, as with future cult TV shows Firefly and Veronica Mars. But of course, David Lynch has never been one to give people what they want.
Fire Walk with Me is a prequel, and one that doesn't really provide any information about Laura Palmer's death that isn't revealed in the first half of the TV series. As such, it's inessential even for fans of the show, and at times can feel like a rehash of old material (especially in the first half hour, another quirky detective investigating another murdered young girl).
So why watch Fire Walk With Me? Well, there are some fun appearances by the likes of David Bowie, Kiefer Sutherland and Harry Dean Stanton. But more importantly, the film pares down the supernatural tangents and weird townspeople that littered the TV series. Those things had their value, but they eventually made the murder of Laura Palmer a half- forgotten conceit. As in so many murder mysteries, the actual murder victim becomes inessential. In Fire Walk With Me, that violence takes centre stage. We see Laura Palmer's world, a world of constant sexual violence and her futile attempts to cope by owning the depravity. It's Lynch at his bleakest, and it's genuinely unsettling in the way that, say, the Log Lady is not. Rather than being the story of a strange small town, Fire Walk With Me tells the story of Twin Peaks as a story about a girl who is repeatedly raped and eventually murdered, and there's absolutely nothing charming about that.
It might just be because I was less focused on deciphering the plot, but Lynch's style seems heightened in comparison with the TV series and even some of the other movies he made around this time. The story unfolds in a kind of jazz-like alternation between absurdity, kitsch and horror. There isn't really a plot, but nevertheless I couldn't turn my eyes away. The return to horror makes Fire Walk With Me a worthy companion to the original series, and much more worthy of a revisit than some of those season 2 episodes.