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Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

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A week away from Twin Peaks season three, and people are getting nervous. Any footage we’ve seen so far—which is not a lot—has looked very little like the quirky, eerie TV show. Instead, the experimental, dark-as-tar prequel movie, Fire Walk With Me, seems to be the proper point of reference.

It was not met with a lot of sympathies in 1992, the film. Here people had expected a resolve to Dale Cooper’s descent into the Black Lodge1, as opposed to the origins story of the Twin Peaks mythology we received. Cooper was rarely seen in the film, not because he was stuck in some in-between universe, but because Kyle MacLachlan only reluctantly signed on to make what charitably could be described as an extended appearance.2

Yet… I don’t think this is a bad movie, be it Twin Peaks or otherwise. It might be a jarring first watch, but give Fire Walk With Me another chance, and you’ll find something closer to the TV show. Yes, it’s all distorted behind a bizarre filter, but squint your eyes and tilt your head and you’ll see it. If nothing else it is a beautiful looking film.

The transition will be easier to wrap your head around if you don’t approach it as a Dale Cooper film, but rather a Laura and Leland Palmer story. Both Sheryl Lee and Ray Wise give A-grade performances, and Lee reportedly lost herself so far into her character that it took her years to recover from it.

In form and tone, Fire Walk With Me feels like more like Lynch’s Mulholland Drive than the show. It sort of make sense, with Mulholland Drive being based on a Twin Peaks spin-off idea3. There are also those who claim the movie is set in the Twin Peaks universe, which might seem like a fan fantasy until you realize that, for a split second, Laura Palmer and Ronette Pulaski make an appearance in the film. True story. In what likely could be another Black Lodge waiting room.4

Additionally, the main character, Betty (portrayed by Naomi Watts), shares names with Cooper’s never-seen Twin Peaks secretary. With Watts now set to appear in season three… Well, who knows?!

Back on track…

It’s a bleak, dark movie, Fire Walk With Me, with no cherry pie or coffee in sight. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it does the job of telling the story Lynch wanted to tell. For the bigger picture, that was what Twin Peaks needed, and this is once again just a piece of the puzzle.

Season three starts a week from now. I will speculate and say the show will end up somewhere between the movie and previous season in tone. Or maybe it’ll be completely different. We will know soon enough, and you’ll be delighted to hear we will follow the show with weekly recaps, right here, at your reliable, friendly site, One Star Classics!

1 I, as many, don’t actually think that is where he ended up, and what we have seen up until now is the referenced waiting room.

2 He, as many, felt Lynch had abandoned the show after Palmer’s killer was revealed. Hard to argue that one.

3 Had the movie not bombed, we would have seen plenty of these.

4 Actually, is this the waiting room and where Cooper is stuck the Black Lodge? At least Club Silencio has entertainment, as opposed to the backward talking Man From Another Place.

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