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Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

Year: 1992
Studio: New Line Cinema
Director: David Lynch
Writer: David Lynch/Robert Engels
Cast: Sheryl Lee, Moira Kelly, Ray Wise, Dana Ashbrook, James Marshall, Mädchen Amick, Kyle MacLachlan, Chris Isaak, Kiefer Sutherland, Heather Graham, Miguel Ferrer

I had no idea until I looked into this film after watching it just how badly it was received with critics and audiences.

Lynch's mindbending smalltown psychosexual drama was never going to be easy, but the only reason I can think people didn't like it is because they watched it expecting all the answers Lynch was reluctant to give in the series. Because he's gone on record saying he never wanted it to be solely about the central mystery of who killed Laura Palmer, it's a good bet the movie's purpose was going to be about piling on more weirdness, not solving it.

With a greatly expanded role for Sheryl Lee as Laura and a greatly reduced one for Kyle MacLachlan (who feared he'd be typecast if he was in it too much), it details the last week or so in Laura's life.

It's been way too long since I watched the TV show, so you should ideally refamiliarise yourself with it to immediately place who characters like Laura's biker boyfriend James, her best friend Donna (played here by Moira Kelly after Lara Flynn Boyle pulled out of the movie) and her weird friend Harold (Leny Van Dohlen, the nerdy guy out of Electric Dreams) are.

There's a strange opening framing device with Chris Isaak as an FBI agent and Kiefer Sutherland as his nerdy tech assistant, investigating the murder occasionally hinted at in the series that preceded Laura's.

But before long, and to the haunting and unmistakable strains of Julee Cruise's Falling In Love, we find ourselves reintroduced to the town of Twin Peaks. Laura is a train wreck waiting to happen – a bobby socks-wearing good girl on the outside who's hopelessly addicted to cocaine, is seeing local tough James behind her quarterback boyfriend's back and goes to a sleazy bar in the woods where grotesque men do whatever they want to her.

Laura's been having dreams of the grey-haired man Bob, who she thinks wants to rape and kill her, but who she suspects is real after she finds pages torn out of her secret diary.

As Donna and James try to get Laura to hold it together, things unravel faster. She has a skin-crawling relationship with her father Leland (Wise) that's prophetic if you watched the TV show to the end.

It has the same motifs and subtexts as the show. With the Black and White lodges, the one-armed man and the backwards-talking dwarf, it could all be a reference to heaven and hell or just a drama about child abuse from inside the mind of the child.

Either way, nobody does sinister like Lynch, and while a million hack directors try to scare you with artificial shocks, Lynch slices his way under your skin as surely as the killer who puts pieces of paper under the nails of his victims.

Don't watch it is the show frustrated you and you want answers – Lynch was never about giving them to you. But if you loved it, this movie will remind you why.

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