Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) Poster

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10/10
Severely under-rated prequel to one of the best TV series ever
mstomaso16 October 2004
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.
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reflections on the film
mfb13812 March 2002
Warning: Spoilers
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.
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8/10
!kcoR s'teL
symbioticpsychotic1 October 2005
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).
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The Enigma Of Laura Palmer, Uncovered
Chrysanthepop28 February 2009
David Lynch's prequel to his TV Show 'Twin Peaks' drowns the viewer into the psyche of Laura Palmer, who was a crucial enigma of the series (but then again, 'Twin Peaks' is full of enigmas and riddles). The darkness of the human mind has been a consistent theme in many of Lynch's works. Other more recent examples include 'Mulholland Drive' and 'Inland Empire'. 'Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me' is brutal, stark, graphic and horrifyingly disturbing.

'Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me' may not be as technically 'polished' as Lynch's other films and the low budget shows (but is not bothersome at all). Yet, the closeups have a very strong effect as it provides some evidence of fine acting. Sheryl Lee is at the centre of the film and she is astonishingly superb. Someone should give this actress more roles. Ray Wise, Moira Kelly, Kyle Mclachlan and the rest of the supporting cast are of note. The visuals, even though this is during the pre-CGI boom, are mesmerizing. And of course, what would a Lynch film be without symbolism. They are plentiful but I won't give my interpretation as they are best discovered first hand.

Many feel that the story is inconsistent but to me it all fits well together. Towards the end it is depressing, as the viewer has witnessed all the layers of Laura's agony in detail. It is not a comfortable film to watch. After all, she was just a normal American teenager who has experienced the worst of life and this movie grips the viewer and shows her life breaking into irreparable pieces. Yet, given the heavy theme 'Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me' is a film worth experiencing, especially for fans of the series and Lynch's other works.
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6/10
For Twin Peaks die-hards only
hall89518 May 2007
If you were not a fan of the Twin Peaks television series you would not want to bother watching this film. Fire Walk with Me pretty much requires the viewer to have already seen every episode of the television show. If you haven't you will be well and truly lost as you watch this film unfold in the bizarre Twin Peaks universe. Assuming you have the requisite working knowledge of all things Twin Peaks heading in you'll at least be able to understand the film. Whether you'll like the film is an iffy proposition at best.

Fire Walk with Me is a prequel to the television series which means Laura Palmer is alive. But before we can get to Laura there's a thirty-minute or so prologue (a prequel within a prequel?) about the investigation into the murder of Teresa Banks, whom all the Twin Peaks die-hards know was the first victim of the killer who would eventually murder Laura. After what any fan of the television show will see as some typical weirdness, and not much in the way of resolution, the prologue ends and we move forward in time, jumping into the final week of Laura Palmer's life. It's nice to see Laura alive for the first time. The television show had already established Laura was not the sweet, innocent homecoming queen she seemed but her demons were, for the most part, only hinted at on TV. In Fire Walk with Me those demons are on full display. Where the television show was subtle, the movie is in your face. A little too much in your face some might say as David Lynch takes full advantage of all the opportunities provided by producing an R-rated movie. Certainly nothing is held back here as we watch Laura Palmer spiral downward towards her sad end.

In the rather brutal telling of the story of Laura Palmer's final days all the charm of the television series has been lost. For all the terrible things that occurred in the series the show always had that small-town, quirky charm. Not here. For the Twin Peaks fan it's nice to see those familiar characters again. And the film does add a lot to the Laura Palmer story and allows you to get to know her much better. But you may come away wishing you hadn't gotten to know her quite so well. Perhaps some things are better left unspoken and unseen. There were two sides of Laura Palmer and this film shows you much too much of the dark side. There was a lot of good in her, watching this film makes it hard to remember that even as you can't help but sympathize with the way she is being taken advantage of and the way she will meet her ultimate fate.

If you're a real Twin Peaks fan you really do have to see the movie. There is a lot to like about it. The story is captivating as ever, if decidedly less charming in this go-around. And the performances from the cast are mostly very good, most notably from Sheryl Lee who finally gets to play a living, breathing Laura Palmer after having been introduced to the world dead and wrapped in plastic. And Ray Wise as Laura's father Leland also does fine work in portraying a disturbing and complicated character. We never got to see Leland and Laura interact in the series and their relationship is fascinating to watch. Fascinating and also more than a little creepy as the movie's Leland is a constantly ominous, threatening presence. You'll miss Lara Flynn Boyle who for the film has been replaced in the role of Donna by Moira Kelly. Kelly fails to bring the same spark to the character that Boyle did. And while many of the characters from the show return you'll miss those who notably don't. Audrey and Benjamin Horne, Sheriff Truman, Deputies Andy and Hawk, Doc Hayward and Pete Martell and Big Ed...would have been nice to see them and some others one last time if even just briefly. It is nice to have the opportunity to go back to the Twin Peaks universe. Unfortunately it's not quite the universe you remember. This is a much darker, sinister and decidedly less enjoyable Twin Peaks. Sometimes you can't go home again.
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9/10
A great but disturbing film...
OrigamiDoug20 January 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of David Lynch's movies. Even if I don't completely understand them the first time around, they always evoke a strong emotional response from me. This film was no different. It was alternately beautiful and horrifying due to the duality of Laura's life. Knowing that Laura was ultimately going to end up dead created a sense of dread that stayed with me throughout the entire film. Scenes such as Mike confronting Leland on the road and David Bowie's appearance as Agent Jeffries frightened me, for some reason, more than any horror film I've ever seen. But the scenes that show Laura accepting her fate are the most chilling of all; here is a girl who, under different circumstances, would have been a pure and normal individual. But she was corrupted by an evil force and instead used her inner strength to choose to die rather than succumb completely to BOB. Sheryl Lee's performance was flawless, and the rest of the cast turned in great performances as well. TP:FWWM is my favorite Lynch film, and one of my top five favorites. 9 out of 10
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9/10
The Fan Edit is Better than the Theatrical Cut
Always Be Happy1 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
If you are currently watching "Twin Peaks" on Showtime and are a little confused then you should watch "Fire Walk With Me". As much as I am enjoying some of the new episodes of "Twin Peaks" it is a little strange!

I know people that have never seen the show before are saying one thing "What the Hell"? I can't blame them because the show seems to be catering to the die hard fans of the show. Most of all it is catering to people that know and remember every character from not only the show but the film "Fire Walk With Me".

Now I was always a fan of the television show. I was mad that the show had ended with a cliffhanger.

I was happy to hear that "Fire Walk With Me" was coming. A year later when it was released I was shocked that it did not solve the television cliffhanger however I did enjoy the film.

I thought it was strange but very good. Fans of the show hated "Fire" because most the cast from the television show were not featured. It also din't help that the film was too violent for some fans. In the television show it was about "Who killed Laura Palmer. "Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me" The film was about why she murdered.

I will admit the film is very confusing. The GREEN RING was a new element that was never mentioned in the television show. Also what was really annoying to me was that the murder of Laura slightly differs from what we were told on the television show. In the television show we are told (Through Waldo the Bird) that Laura kept saying "Leo No" and that Laura had a poker chip in her stomach. These events are not shown in "Fire".

The assembly cut of the film was rumored to have run over 5 hours. When the the film was released it ran 135 minutes. Most of all the film did not resolve the cliffhanger from the television show.

Before the film was released in the USA it Premiered at the "Cannes Film Festival" and it was booed. Now I am not sure if they saw a different version of "Fire" but the film was panned everywhere. This was a shock to David because the pilot to the television show was "The Best Reviewed" television pilot of all time.

Well most fans had herd before "Fire's" release was that there was many cut scenes that featured the television cast. For years the fans were hoping that those scenes would turn up somewhere. BE it an extended television cut of the film or a special edition on home video. After all in 1984 David Lynch directed the film "Dune". A few years later when the film when shown on television it had about an hour of never before seen footage so hopes were high that this would be the case for "Fire" but that never happened until 2014 when David Lynch finally released the deleted footage. This was 22 years after the film was released.

However these scenes were not edited back into the film. David Lynch likes the theatrical cut of "Fire" so he did not want to tamper with it. However fans did and someone who goes by Q2 made a great edit that included the deleted scenes and in reality it is a better film however, it does run 3 1/2 hours! Best News is that it does solve the cliffhanger from the television show!

What is strange is that for a fan edit is that it runs smoother than the theatrical edition. The original theatrical version is shorter but seems longer! Now there is a few scenes that were re- edited back in that were not needed. On the plus side the fan edit does improve the viewers vision on the problems that Laura had to face in the last 7 days of her life! If you ever get the chance to see this edit it is worth watching, It makes "Fire" a masterpiece!
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LYNCHS' DARKEST, MOST DISTURBING MOVIE; AN OVERLOOKED MASTERPIECE
Jamalio15 January 2002
Warning: Spoilers
This isn't just the darkest lynch film ever made, it is one of the darkest, most disturbing films ever committed to celluloid. It tells the tale of the last 7 days of Laura Palmer, so it plays as a prequel to the episodic story which told the tale of how her murder was 'a feak accident' (described in this film). The films contains some of Lynch's most creative touches to date, most notably in a nightclub (from hell) scene, in which the character's dialogue is bareley audible, and in a dream sequence which involves a bizarre painting of a wall. Why Lynch fans overlooked this is more bizzare than the film itself, as it attains a similar style, but does admittedly drop a lot of the characters that gave it it's quirky charm (Dale Cooper has merely a walk on cameo, no sign of 'damn fine cherry pie') but nonetheless has a sense of bizzare horror and dread and plays out quite similarly as how you'd imagine 'the Exorcist; the Adolescent Years. After touches of subtle horror that Lynch has displayed in most of his films, this is a return to the 'bizzarly terrifying' sense of dread that Lynch demonstrated with Eraserhead, but unlike that film it is very true to form in portraying a slow journey of a downward spiral as seen through the perspective of a confused teenage girl- caught up in unfortunate circumstances due to her effortless sensuality, and in doing so it is so disturbingly authentic young girls heading towards a similar fate may use it as an effective warning. Criminally underrated.
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10/10
Pure Lynch
haapaq25 April 2005
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.
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8/10
The last 7 dark days of the Homecoming Queen's Life...
Bob, Agent Cooper, Laura Palmer, Teresa Banks, The Man From Another Place, etc...

Welcome back to David Lynch's offbeat town of TWIN PEAKS.

Much darker than the TV series, this film was in part meant to answer many previously unanswered questions, but if anything - in typical Lynch fashion - it tangles things even further, and confuses matters all round.

Lynch apparently shot more than 5 hours of the feature, and as much of these deleted/extended/alternative scenes are still missing, the movie we're left with feels rather bare and rushed.

The performances are excellent, and the movie is visually stunning, and as usual the plot - while confusing - is intense and riveting.

But alas it could have been so so so much more.... (sighs)
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