Nick Davie’s review published on Letterboxd:
Between Two Worlds: Laura Palmer and Feminism in Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me
In recent years, the previously maligned prequel to the Twin Peaks series has received a much deserved period of critical re-evaluation. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is a complex and compelling genre shift from soap-satire-mystery to all-out psychological horror; released in 1992, the film has had a contentious history amongst fans and critics alike. Initially, before 2017’s The Return, the film would never go on to answer questions or provide any kind of closure to the series’ original run. It would however, allow David Lynch and Mark Frost to focus on one of the key elements of the original show. That key element, namely, is the character Laura Palmer, the murdered teenager, homecoming queen, a promiscuous, troubled and eventual feminist icon.
Laura Palmer, played by Sheryl Lee, is arguably Lynch’s most developed character in the Twin Peaks universe, with the prequel Fire Walk With Me focusing on her last days of life. Laura is both the antagonist and the heroine of the film, with Laura’s duality a metaphor for the entire Twin Peaks mythology; innocent, pure, feminine, powerful, mysterious, abused, manipulating, and damaged- all at once. Initially, Sheryl Lee was cast to simply play the plastic-wrapped corpse of Laura Palmer, but Lynch and Frost saw potential in her beyond that minimal role, with the changing nature of the show and its writing thankfully allowing her to remain a seminal figure in life and death. Perhaps if the film had not suffered both commercially and critically, Lee may have received nominations and awards for her powerful display in Fire Walk With Me. Through the vehicle of the psychological horror genre, a rich and powerful origin story exists for Laura Palmer that would go on to dictate the past and the future of Twin Peaks.