Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)

Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller
Sheryl Lee, Ray Wise, Mädchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook
A young FBI agent disappears while investigating a murder miles from Twin Peaks that may be related to the future murder of Laura Palmer; the last week of the life of Laura Palmer is chronicled.
For better or worse, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is every bit as strange and twisted as you'd expect from David Lynch.
  • 28 Aug 1992 Released:
  • 26 Feb 2002 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • David Lynch, Robert Engels, Mark Frost (television Writer:
  • David Lynch Director:
  • N/A Website:

All subtitles:

Trailer:

Pure Lynch10/10
I just watched this movie again for about the 13th time, and it just keeps getting better and better. This movie is amazing! I had the chance of following the series from the pilot to the final episode in a span of three weeks. I then watched the movie for the first time right after. Let me start by saying everything that happens in Twin Peaks from the series to the movie all makes perfect sense. This is something which needs to be viewed carefully, and thought about very clearly. I'm not going to tell you what I think it's all about but I'm pretty damn sure I know, and I know well enough to say this makes perfect sense. I will also say if you have not seen the television show Twin Peaks (season 1&2) don't even bother with this movie. I am truly tired of hearing people complain about this movie because of their lack of understanding. If you have not seen the show, you will not understand this movie.. So go out and watch the show and then think about watching this FANTASTIC movie.
reflections on the film5/10

WARNING SPOILERS!!

Well I've just gotten the FWWM DVD and am finally able to appreciate the film as it was intended to be seen and heard (or at least as close as possible outside of a theatre). It's unbelievable, and after watching it a
few times I was finally able to understand for myself what Lynch was doing here, and he's right; intuition is the key; just pay close attention to what you are seeing and your mind will intuit the rest. In fact, understanding this film was a truly exciting thing for me. What Lynch is actually doing here is thrilling. As much as Lynch would (and myself as well, but...) hate to hear someone give what they consider a definitive explanation for the film, I thought I would give some ideas about some of the most interesting moments. Any interpretation is viable, of course, but this is how I look at it.

First, the prologue: To understand the prologue one must understand something about the nature of the evil in this film. I see the denizens of the Black Lodge as the physical embodiment of the subconscious. That's what the Red Room is to me, the deepest levels of the subconscious, where there is an understanding going on that rational thought won't allow. For example, Laura doesn't want to think that Bob is really her father, but deep down she knows (or comes to know in the film). But Bob is really just the evil that men do, the darkest side of humanity, and he can be inside of anybody. Since Bob is just a personification of this idea and doesn't literally exist, he really can't be caught, because eradicating Bob (and the other members of the Black Lodge) would be eradicating all the pain and suffering in this world, and that will never happen.

In the prologue, Chet Desmond and Sam Stanley come across perhaps the most unhelpful town on the planet. Much has been made of how this place is purposefully the opposite of Twin Peaks, but I don't think that's the point. The unhelpfulness is the result of the town knowing that no matter how many FBI agents are brought in, you can't get rid of what killed Theresa Banks; you can't get rid of violence. They treat the two with disdain because they realize the fruitlessness of their search. Lynch emphasizes the strict use of code (Lil) and constantly has characters asking what time it is to give an air of precision, but nothing gets accomplished. The electricity reference is simply marking the presence of something bad in the area. So, a lot of investigation occurs with nothing being accomplished. Theresa Banks is dead and will remain so.

Perhaps the most obscure point in the film is the sequence with David Bowie. To make this short, Cooper's image freezes in the security camera because the members of the Black Lodge have stopped time for a second, also apparently causing a rip in whatever fabric divides this world and the Lodge. This allows Jeffries to breifly crossover, apparently while the members of the Lodge are having a meeting. This bizarre meeting with the grandson, Bob, etc. is happening at the same time Jeffries appears in FBI headquarters. He says it in voiceover: "I've been to one of their meetings". The meeting is to choose another victim. The Man from Another Place is telling Bob to get more Garmonbozia (pain and suffering, which takes the form of creamed corn) for him. "With this ring, I thee wed", he says, talking about Laura. "Fell a victim", says the grandson, also talking about her. The man in the chair with the beard makes a bizarre hand motion, as if saying "and so it shall be done". Bob and The Man from Another Place are shown walking through the Red Room, on their way out after the meeting, to go get Laura. The meeting over, the rip closes, and Jeffries goes back to the Lodge. Keep in mind however that none of this is really literal, although you have to talk about it that way in the context of the scene. It's the film's way of saying that something bad is happening again, someone else is going to be the victim of violence. The monkey underneath the mask is sort of like a fetus, or like a birth. They've given birth to this evil which will grow and grow and grow until Laura is murdered, and the garmonbozia is given to The Man from Another Place. After this, the murderous thirst is quenched, and the monkey reappears, indicating that things are once again calm but will once again grow (this happens at the end of the film). And of course in the series, Madeline dies.

Some quicker explanations: Laura talking to Harold, saying "Fire Walk with Me, ME!!" is her talking about her temptation to degrade herself. "He says he wants to be me or he'll kill me". This is Lynch telling us in an incredibly unique way that the abuse she's had from her father is turning into self abuse.

The old lady and the grandson are like the gatekeepers of the Black Lodge, allowing one to enter and exit. In the literal world, they are Laura's very first inclinations that Bob may be her father. The picture is just saying that she needs to go into her subconscious to find the answer, which she does that night. "Don't take the ring", says Cooper (meaning don't be another victim; do something about your situation). After Annie appears, Laura walks toward her door. On the soundtrack you can hear her mom calling Laura, which references the morning after she was murdered and her mom couldn't find her. She looks out at the stairs; in about two days, her mom will come up these stairs to find Luara missing. She is also in the picture looking out the door, meaning she has exited the Black Lodge, or her deepest subconscious, and is back in the rational world, almost. This is her first realization that things might get really bad soon.

Anyway, just some observations, but I'm probably running out of words, so I'll stop now.

Severely under-rated prequel to one of the best TV series ever10/10
By the time this film was released, critics and TV audiences had already decided its decidedly mediocre box-office fate. The usual network attitude toward anything which demands thought and interpretation assured the cancellation of the series in its second season, and Lynch's departure from the show's director's chair to begin this film project all but sealed the fate of the show. Unfortunately, this same fate determined both the critical and public approach to the film project.

TP:FWWM is a prequel to the two-season Twin Peaks saga, and (sort of) answers the question 'how and why did Laura Palmer die?'. Fans of the show mostly knew the answers before they saw this film, but to see Laura's life so vividly realized, and to see the TV characters cast into such a different, more harsh, surreal and disturbing light, really invigorates the entire TP phenomenon. FWWM actually inspired me to watch the entire series again (and as of 2004, I am in the process of watching it again). Fans of the series who found themselves disappointed by the final few episodes of the series because they felt it became too bizarre, are likely to find this film more gripping, though they will probably end up as unsatisfied as they were at the onset. Those who found the second season thrillingly experimental are likely to be surprised by the subtlety of and dramatic quality of this film. Those, like me, who approach the film with few tangible expectations might just find themselves, compelled, disturbed, and very entertained.

The performances are generally very good, but not entirely even. Some TV cast-members, given the vastly expanded possibilities of cinema, really showed their range and depth. Sheryl Lee, MacLachlan, Dana Ashbrook, and Ray Wise were especially impressive. The cinematography is less powerful than the usual Lynchian vision (see Eraserhead, Lost Highway for extreme examples), and is more in keeping with the TV show's straightforward, but moody, photographic approach. The overall production values are, in fact, comparable to those of Mulholland Drive - also originally planned by Lynch as a TV show. Though more subtle than many of Lynch's more extravagant works, TP:FWWM is very successfully manipulative and powerful.

I ardently appreciate Lynch, considering him one of cinema and performance's greatest contemporary artists. And I am unashamed to state that I believe this to be among his finest works. Many of Lynch's fans love to write interpretations of Lynch himself, as if all of his films are in some way connected beyond the obvious fact that he directed (and more often than not scripted) them. I do not disagree with this approach, but, in my opinion, any such universalizing comments more or less miss the point. Lynch is one of many director's who view film as an art form, not as a craft, nor as a vehicle for specific messages and stories. As Lynch has stated, repeatedly, his films involve a dream-like reality and often attempt to invoke a dream or nightmare state in viewers. Unlike most, however, Lynch succeeds in the purity of his art. His films demand interpretation, engagement and, what's more, demand a different and unique interpretation by most who view them.

If you are looking for something which can be universally interpreted from TP:FWWM as part of this imagined set of Lynchian themes, I am not the reviewer to give it, look elsewhere. I have too much respect for Lynch's artistry to subject him to my own interpretive explanations.

If you are looking for a simple story which will clear up the insanity of Twin Peaks, don't bother with FWWM.

If you are looking, open-mindedly, for an intense, disturbing, and well constructed cinematic experience which creates more questions than it answers, and retains elements of mystery in a fatalistically driven plot environment, you've come to the right place.
Highly underrated film by brilliant visionary Lynch5/10

Since the first line of TP:FWWM is "Get me Agent Chester Desmond in Fargo, North Dakota," some might argue that I am biased in my praise for one of Lynch's most underrated motion pictures. The truth is, my life has never been the same since the fateful midnight in high school when I experienced Eraserhead for the first time. TP:FWWM was savaged by most critics, who are unlikely ever to laud the unconventional Lynch again (unless he makes another film that connects like Blue Velvet). Few other filmmakers have had the ability to depict so tangibly the intangibility of our dreams and the worlds contained therein. Couple this with Lynch's corner on the "uncanny" market, and you have TP:FWWM, a film impossible to confuse with any other. My only complaint concerns the absence of Ben and Audrey Horne, who were such interesting and engaging characters on the television series.
!kcoR s'teL8/10
There's no doubt about it, Twin Peaks changed the living, breathing face and body of television, the soul and minds of those who watched it, and the attitudes of film and television makers everywhere, who watched what was intended to be a 2 hour Tele-movie become a phenomenon. A phenomenon that dissected the way television was made and shown to its very core, and reassembled it in a fashion that no one had ever witnessed, or dreamed of. A phenomenon that would sweep the world… Not since JR was shot in Dallas had the entire worldwide viewing public stopped to ask itself a question, for one brief, shining, crystallized moment, in 1990… Who Killed Laura Palmer? And so, with David Lynch's Fire Walk With Me, the question is not Who? But rather, Why? This film precedes the TV show, these are the last 7 days of Laura Palmer, and after watching this film, it is pretty apparent why Laura wanted to die, she lived in a world out of her grasp and control, she was desperately fighting what she was becoming, but realized that the forces that were pulling her down, were too strong for her to fight against… I knew someone like that once, and to be quite honest, it has changed the way I look at Laura Palmer. The first time I watched this film was in 1992 when it came out on VHS, I was 16 or 17 and I hated it. It wasn't Twin Peaks. It was horrible and violent and had none of the cuteness and quirkiness and lovable characters of the TV show, and I never watched it again. Watching it almost 15 years on, as an adult, I understand why I hated it so much when I was a kid. As a 16-17 year male, I had absolutely no concept or understanding of what it would be like to be Laura Palmer, completely unable to relate to her, and therefore completely unable to understand or sympathize. Completely unable to understand what it would mean to live in a world where everyone is in love with you, and how that would only make you hate yourself more, when you hate yourself so much already.

This is a really sad movie. It really puts you in to Laura Palmer's world, or what's left of it, briefly. Maybe too brief, but, you know, maybe I read too much in to films, or I get too close too them, but this film has changed Twin Peaks for me forever. And it's quite possible that it will do the same for you. Even though she was dead before the opening credits, I never realized until watching this film again that Laura was never freed, she was always in 'purgatory' if you will, always in the Red Room when we saw her, or seeing a flashback of her murder during the course of the TV show. Fire Walk With Me gives something to Laura Palmer that she had been denied on television.

Release.

For the most part, this film was not made for the fans, nor was it made for the money, Lynch made this film for Laura palmer. His love of her is what inspired him to breathe life into her character on the big screen, after taking it away on the small. This is his dance, first and final, with Laura Palmer. It is not ours to be involved with, it is ours only to watch the romance between character and director evolve and be burnt too soon. It is ours only to witness, not too understand or judge, not to ask or question.

From the opening shot, a television with no reception, which is quickly obliterated by an Axe, it is quite clear that this ain't no TV show, and if the symbolism of the TV being smashed isn't enough to tell you that, then the opening scene will. This is the part of Twin Peaks that simply never would have made it to TV. The real Twin Peaks, if you will, the dark, tortured, seedy underbelly of a town with too few people, and too many secrets, the sort of place that exists almost everywhere in the world (with the exception of Cicely, Alaska).