Film and Plot Synopsis
In a world that only David Lynch can bring to life, a bright-eyed young actress named Betty travels to Hollywood to make it as movie star. When she encounters a beautiful naked woman in her aunt’s shower who can’t remember who she is and is in possession of a mysterious blue key, Betty becomes involved in a dreamlike, but deadly world that centers on the famous road in the Hollywood hills known as Mulholland Drive.
‘Mulholland Drive’ Movie Summary
Later that morning, an aspiring actress named Betty Elms (Naomi Watts) arrives at the apartment. Betty explains to the mysterious woman, who takes the name Rita, that the apartment is her aunt’s and that Betty is there to try and make it in Hollywood. Rita explains that she has amnesia after the accident and that she does not remember who she is. Betty suggests that they look in Rita’s purse to see if it contains any clues to her identify, but they only find a large amount of money and an extremely unusual blue key.
At the same time in a nearby diner called Winkie’s, a man (Patrick Fischler) tells another man (Michael Cooke) about a nightmare in which he dreamt of encountering a horrific figure behind the diner. The two men decide to confront the dreamer’s fear and go investigate. They encounter the horrific figure which causes the dreamer to collapse on the ground, presumably dead.
Elsewhere, film director Adam Kesher (Justin Theroux) takes a meeting with some mobsters (Dan Hedaya and Angelo Badalamenti) who insist on casting an unknown actress named Camilla Rhodes (Melissa George) as the female lead in Adam’s new film The Sylvia North Story. Adam refuses and smashes the mobsters’ car windshield after they threaten him. Adam returns home to find his wife Lorraine (Lori Heuring) in bed with the pool man Gene (Billy Ray Cyrus).
Adam destroys his wife’s jewelry and then checks into a rundown hotel in the city. The mobsters shut down Adam’s bank accounts and arrange a meeting for Adam with the mysterious Cowboy (Monty Montgomery), who urges Adam to cast Camilla for his own good. At the same time, a bungling hitman named Joe (Mark Pellegrino) attempts to steal a book full of phone numbers and ends up having to kill three people.
Meanwhile, Betty and Rita try to learn more about Rita’s accident and go to the same Winkie’s restaurant. They are served by a waitress named Diana, which causes Rita to remember the name Diane Selwyn. They look the name up in the phone book and call her, but she doesn’t answer the phone. They decide to visit her apartment, but first Betty has to go to her first audition. Betty does extremely well in the audition and is subsequently escorted to the set of The Sylvia North Story. She is present when Adam decides to hire Camilla for the lead role in his film. Adam and Betty lock eyes for an instance, but Betty rushes to leave before she can be introduced to him.
Once back at her aunt’s apartment, Betty and Rita go to Diane Selwyn’s apartment. They find Diane’s apartment occupied by a different woman who tells them that she and Diane switched apartments. The girls proceed to Diane’s new apartment and break in when no one answers the door. They find a body of a woman lying in her bed who has been dead for several days once they are inside. Betty and Rita run from the apartment and go back to Betty’s place. Rita decides to alter her appearance and begins wearing a blonde wig. The women proceed to go to bed and they have sex.
Early in the morning, Rita begins talking in her sleep and keeps crying out “silencio”. Betty wakes her up and Rita insists that they both go to a theater called Club Silencio. Once there, the emcee for the show tells the audience that everything is an illusion and begins introducing acts. Rebekah Del Rio comes on stage and begins singing an a cappella version of Roy Orbison’s “Crying” in Spanish before collapsing on the stage as the singing continues.
Betty suddenly realizes that she has a blue box in her purse that matches the mysterious blue key in Rita’s purse back at Betty’s apartment. They return to the apartment to retrieve the key. Once Rita has the key, Betty suddenly disappears. Rita opens the box by herself and the camera zooms into the black void that is the interior of the mysterious box. Then, the box falls to the floor and both Betty and Rita are nowhere to be seen. Betty’s aunt enters the room and looks around, as if looking for something that could have caused a noise.
Next, the Cowboy opens the door to Diane Selwyn’s bedroom and tells her that it is time for her to wake up. Diane Selwyn (Naomi Watts) gets up out of the bed, and the audience sees that Betty is Diane. Diane is a struggling actress who is driven into a deep depression by her failed affair with Hollywood starlet Camilla Rhodes (Laura Elena Harring), who looks exactly like Rita.
Camilla is now romantically involved with her director Adam. Camilla invites Diane to a party at Adam’s house on Mulholland Drive. Diane explains that she met Camilla during an audition for The Sylvia North Story. At dinner, a mysterious women who looks like the previous Camilla Rhodes (Melissa George) approaches the new Camilla and shares a passionate kiss with her in front of all the dinner guests including Diane. Soon after, Adam and Camilla announce their engagement while a devastated Diane cries quietly to herself.
Sometime later, a despondent Diane meets with Joe the hitman at Winkie’s and hires him to kill Camilla. He tells her that she will find a blue key when he completes the job. The man who had the nightmare about the horrific figure is present in the restaurant when Diane is there. The camera then proceeds to the alley behind the restaurant where we see the horrific figure in possession of the mysterious blue box.
Soon after, Diane awakens and finds the blue key on her coffee table. A distraught Diane becomes terrorized by hallucinations and runs into her bedroom to escape them. She pulls a gun out her dresser drawer and shoots herself in the head, falling on the bed in the exact same position as the body that Rita and Betty found earlier. The camera then cuts to the Club Silencio Theater where a mysterious blue-haired woman sitting in the balcony whispers “silencio” before the screen fades to black.
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