1992 *** 134 mins.
Being a huge fan of the original television series, I must say that I was sorely disappointed with this film. What makes it worse, though, is that only someone who has seen the entire show can appreciate this film (or understand a lot of it, noticing a lot of little things here and there that are explained). So, if a fan of the show can't find this film too enjoyable, then what is there in it for anyone else?
The film begins with the story of two FBI Agents (Chris Isaak and Keifer Sutherland) investigating the murder of a girl named Teresa Banks. I appreciated this first half hour of the film more the second time I watched it, I must admit. The film then jumps ahead a year to the last few days of Laura Palmer's (Sheryl Lee) life. For those of you who haven't seen the show, the show begins with the discovery of her dead body. Finally, we get to see what happened to Laura the last week of her life. In this, the film tends to fail more than it succeeds. Parts of the film are genuinely entertaining, while parts just annoy to no living end. The way I can best put it, the only character in this film that is remotely like its television show counterpart is Donna Hayward, and she's the only character played by a different actress. Sheryl Lee is good as Laura, but let's face it, she's not even alive in the show. Ray Wise is way too over the top as Leland, as is Grace Zabriskie as Sarah. James and Bobby just aren't James and Bobby. Leo (Eric DaRe) and Shelly (Madchen Amick) are stuck in the film as if in a cheap attempt to link the film to the show. David Lynch is still great as Gordon Cole, though there is one character flaw: he can hear Cooper plain as day, whereas in the show, the only person he could hear without the person shouting to him was Shelly Johnson. As for Cooper, his psychologically inclined persona is played up too much. Basically, it's almost like in the short time between the show went off the air and this film was made, David Lynch and Robert Engels completely forgot everything about their characters.
The Angel at the end was a cool new aspect to the story that should keep fellow Peakers talking, though, and I must admit that the ending makes me cry.
So, in conclusion, I would just like to say that I appreciate the fact that David Lynch wanted to clear up a couple of questions those of us may have still had after the show had ended, but I just feel that it could have been done a whole lot better. The film is enjoyed more with repeat viewings.
Original theatrical aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Rated R for strong violence, sex, and drug content, and for language.
Based Upon the Television Series Created by
David Lynch and Mark Frost
Written for the Screen by
David Lynch and Robert Engels