Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me was originally meant to be part of the David Lynch Collection review. I left it out of the first review since I had not yet finished the Twin Peaks TV series, and since the film takes place before the TV show, it would have spoiled many of the twists that the show set up. After finally plowing through both series, I am here now able to review, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me stars Kyle MacLachlan, Sheryl Lee and Ray Wise and David Lynch as the director. The film is set before the TV show of the same name, and focuses on the last seven days of Laura Palmer’s life, as well as the mysterious Bob coming to Twin Peaks.
To start with, the acting is all sorts of bad. While the acting in the TV show had a sense of the uncanny about it, here it is soap-opera levels of bad. Sheryl Lee is the worst, flipping from laughing manically to screaming and crying; it all feels a little over the top. Kyle MacLachlan as well, doesn’t have any of his trademark quirks from the TV show, coming off as rather bland and boring.
While nearly all of the main cast return, it feels out of place when a recurring character has been recast. The main recast is Moira Kelly who takes over the role of Donna Hayward from Lara Flynn Boyle. While Kelly does a fine job of imitating Flynn Boyle’s character, without the inclusion of all the original characters the film seems to missing integral parts. There is also some odd casting choices for side characters, with musicians Chris Isaak and David Bowie both turning up as FBI agents. When I saw David Bowie, I was instantly pulled out of the film’s narrative because all I could think was “That’s David Bowie”. Apart from a few lines of throwaway dialogue Bowie’s part has no real bearing on the story and could have been cut from the story.
The film is just over two hours long, and the plot seems to meander quite a bit. While the film has to hit all of the certain plot points that were brought up in the TV show, it’s earlier plot points featuring different characters that could have been cut. The first half an hour of the film focuses on a completely different subplot which is tangentially connected to the Laura Palmer story, but this plot thread is never resolved fully and is left hanging throughout the rest of the film.
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me does feature some great Lynchian scares and suspense, with a standout moment being a back and forth set piece involving a picture of a half open door Laura Palmer has on her wall, as well as the disturbing rape and murder of Laura by Bob. These last two scenes are elevated by Frank Silva’s portrayal of Bob, who as always is laughing and snarling at his victims.
In relation to the rape and murder of Laura Palmer, the film pushes its 15 certificate to new heights. With several scenes of violent rape, bloody and vicious murder as well as drug abuse and general sexually explicit scenes, the film goes further than many new films in establishing itself as a dark and mature film. As with most of Lynch’s filmography, this is one film not for younger viewers or those who find the above material upsetting.
In summary, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, while being an important part of the Twin Peaks canon and overall storyline, fails dramatically at being a great standalone film. With the new series of Twin Peaks coming out in 2017, let’s hope that the story can only get better.
Score: 3/10 Only for diehards of the franchise.