Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me ★★★★★

“When this kind of fire starts, it is very hard to put out. The tender boughs of innocence burn first, and the wind rises, and then all goodness is in jeopardy” 

Log Lady says this to Laura before she enters The Bang Bang Bar, and what follows is a scene that I consider one of the most difficult scenes to endure in all of cinema or tv. When you’ve seen this film before and you know what comes next, there is almost nothing as heartbreaking as that line. It also functions as a thesis statement for the series as a whole. The seemingly irreversible nature of evil, whether on a bureaucratic level, or on a local level, when the ball starts rolling, it seems borderline impossible to stop. I’m not sure what it’s like to have a child, but watching Laura going through what she does in Fire Walk With Me is how I imagine it is to see your own child suffer, or experience mental illness or go through trauma and feeling helpless about it all. This is a movie where once we enter back into the town of Twin Peaks, I’m basically frowning and/or crying for the rest of the runtime. 

There is a couple of parallels I picked up on so if you haven’t seen Twin Peaks: The Return, be warned about spoilers. 

Twin Peaks: The Return, Part 8:
Begins with a Nine Inch Nails performance that strikes the same deep and dark chords as the scene in the Bang Bang Bar in FWWM, while Reznor repeats “she’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone, AWAAAAAAAAAAY”, in FWWM we have an exchange between Donna and Laura that goes like this

Donna: “
Do you think that if you were falling in space... that you would slow down after a while, or go faster and faster?”

Laura: “Faster and faster. And for a long time you wouldn't feel anything. And then you'd burst into fire. Forever... And the angel's wouldn't help you. Because they've all gone away.”

“She’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone, away.” And in FWWM there is a painting of a family at a dinner table of a family of three, just like the dinner scene with Laura, Sarah, and Leland, with an Angel above it, that is in Laura’s bedroom. And there is a scene where that angel slowly fades out of the painting and disappears. 

Another visual parallel to Twin Peaks: The Return that literally dropped my jaw. Was the scene where Leland is having sex with Ronette Pulaski. At one point he covers her face with his hand, the EXACT same way Dale does in Part 18 of the Return when he is having sex with Diane. Leland states “Who am I?”
Ronette responds “I don’t know”
To which Leland retorts with “Exactly”

The same way we don’t really know who’s Bob and who’s Leland in the scenes in FWWM and the show. That exchange between Leland and Ronette implies that Dale is capable of the exact same evil and could be a third harbinger of evil too. (notice that there’s three versions of Dale in the return too!!) The implications that may have on the arc of Mr C/Dale Cooper/Dougie Jones in The Return, the 3 of which are a representation of pure evil, a man struggling between good and evil, and pure innocent goodness respectively, are fascinating to me. Especially when you put that repeated motif of 3’s and men using sex as power over another woman between Bob, Leland, and Dale. Part of what The Return has to say is that even “Americas Perfect Man” that Dale represents, is still equally capable of being corrupted like Leland or Bob.

FWWM is about many things but one thing that stands out to me is the downward spiral (ironic since I mentioned Nine Inch Nails in this review) of depression, detaching yourself from even the ones who love you most because you are so sad that love doesn’t matter, you might not even be willing to accept it when it comes to you. Though I haven’t gone through anywhere near the level of the trauma and pain Laura Palmer did, I can deeply relate to her hopelessness, and her way of numbing the pain. I can’t even judge her for how she deals with all of the pain. This is why this movie hits so fucking hard for me. 

When Laura tells James that no one really knows her, not even Donna, her best friend. That one hits me really deeply. Two of my closest friends are people I have known for 21 years and I’m 26, but I think we all have feelings that we are uncomfortable with telling ourselves, or even our family, or therapist, or our closest friends. We all have some demons and some stuff we bury within us. I haven’t been through the same stuff Laura has been through, in fact I’m lucky my life has been more favorable than what her fate was. But what is so life-changing about this movie is that anyone who has/is/was been going through an extremely hard to handle life experience can find a way to relate, even if begrudgingly, to the plight of Laura Palmer. 

As terrifying and sad the ending is, it ends with Laura crying, and she cries a lot throughout the movie, but this cry seems to be a cry of relief. Even if she is stuck in The Black Lodge, it’s as if she is relieved to no longer be suffering on earth.

Sheryl Lee, greatest performance of all time.

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