The City of Absurdity Lost Highway
a film by David Lynch
Lost Highway for Parents

by SCREEN IT!, Reviews for parents
Reviewed February 17, 1997

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Mild Heavy Moderate Heavy Moderate
Mild None Heavy *None Extreme
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Extreme Mild Minor Minor Heavy

Suspense/Thriller: Two men's lives intertwine as the women in their lives lead them into danger.
Fred Madison (BILL PULLMAN) is a tenor sax player who's married to Renee Madison (PATRICIA ARQUETTE), a woman whose actions cause jealousy in him. When they begin to receive unmarked videotapes that show footage from inside their home, he begins to wonder what's going on. An encounter with a spooky, white-faced mystery man (ROBERT BLAKE), only adds to the confusion. Suddenly Fred finds himself in jail for possibly killing someone, an act he doesn't remember, but just as quickly he disappears and is replaced by young auto mechanic Pete Dayton (BALTHAZAR GETTY). Pete's a whiz at fixing cars and that has come to the attention of Mr. Eddy (ROBERT LOGGIA), a local thug. When Mr. Eddy's female companion, Alice Wakefield (also PATRICIA ARQUETTE), becomes attracted to Pete, it's only a matter of time before the young man finds himself in hot water. Soon everything comes to a boil and Fred/Pete do what they can to resolve the situation.
If they're fans of David Lynch films ("Blue Velvet," TV's "Twin Peaks,") or of any of the cast, they might.
For bizarre violent and sexual content, and for strong language.
None of the characters can be considered as good role models. Some are neutral, but others, such as Mr. Eddy and Alice Wakefield, aren't good ones.

OUR TAKE: 4 out of 10
You can never accuse David Lynch of making traditional Hollywood films, but you can always be assured that you'll wonder what in the world is going on and equally wonder down what dark and windy road he's going to take us. The first third of the movie is rather intriguing and spooky, though after some time you want the story to progress or some explanation to be delivered. The story does progress, but then moves on to another character, whose life or circumstances aren't as enticing as with Fred. Of course you know the two characters and their circumstances will eventually overlap and the story will get intertwined. It's just that the second half isn't as spooky as the first and goes on too long before the connections are made. The first part of the movie is fun in a haunted house type of way, but none of that ever delivers and you'll feel let down as the movie progresses. As with most horror or suspense movies, the characters have one irritating trait, and that's not turning on the lights when they think someone's in the house. In this movie, they walk around the house with deep, dark shadows everywhere and you want to yell at out them, "Turn on the lights." Lynch is obviously a talented director, but his fascination with giving us weird stuff just for the sake of being weird wears thin after a while and becomes irritating when nothing comes of it. In this one, that's too bad because for a while you think it might be going places. And you'll be hard pressed to find a spookier character than Robert Blake with his eyebrow-less, white-faced sneer. But neither he nor the plot finally add up to anything and all you'll be left with is a massive state of confusion. We give it a just a 4 out of 10.
With its extreme sexual content, heavy violence, and general spooky quality, this film is definitely not for most children, regardless of their age. There's quite a bit of nudity and sexual encounters include graphic sexual movement. There are a few intensely violent scenes and profanity is extreme with 25+ "f" words. Another word of note to parents of children with epilepsy: There is one scene where a strobe light brightly flashes for a minute or so, creating a similar strobe effect in the theater. If your children wish to see this film, we strongly suggest that you examine the scene content in each category to determine if this movie is appropriate for them.

  • People drink at a party where Renee appears to be somewhat drunk. Later, Fred orders two double Scotch's and drinks both.
  • One of Peter's buddies drinks from a flask.
  • Peter's mother drinks a beer.
  • People drink in a bowling alley.
  • We see brief videotape footage of two blood covered bodies in a bedroom and see occasional flashbacks of them.
  • Fred has a bloody nose after being punched.
  • The first time we see Peter he has a bloody gash on his forehead.
  • A man's head is bloody after Mr. Eddy repeatedly hits him with a gun.
  • Blood spills from a man's face after he lands and breaks through the edge of a glass table. Later he's seen from under the table and is very bloody.
  • Peter has a bloody nose.
  • A man's throat is slit and blood pours out and is very graphic as blood covers his hand, his shirt and pours from his neck and mouth.
  • Mr. Eddy has both as does Alice who uses Peter to get at Mr. Eddy.
  • Many of the early scenes are scary due to the spooky music played during them.
  • Viewers may find some of the scenes listed under "Violence" as tense.
  • Every encounter with the mystery man (ROBERT BLAKE) is spooky and/or scary.
  • Fred goes through his dark house, thinking that the mystery man might there.
  • Handguns: Used to threaten or kill people. See "Violence" for details.
  • Handgun: Held on Alice (in flashback) by a man as she's forced to undress in front of Mr. Eddy.
  • Knife: Used to slash a man's throat.
  • A driver tailgates Mr. Eddy and when the driver passes by, he gives Mr. Eddy "the finger." In response, Mr. Eddy chases after the driver and runs his car off the road.
  • None.
  • There is a heavy amount of spooky music, especially in the first third of the movie.
  • One song may have the "f" word repeated throughout it, but the lyrics are so distorted, it's hard to tell.
  • 29 "f" words (2 used sexually and 1 with the prefix "mother"), 9 "s" words, 1 slang term each for male and female genitals ("c*cksucker" and "p*ssy"), 4 "ass" words, 1 damn, 1 hell, and 2 uses of "God damn" and 1 use of "Oh God" as exclamations.
  • Renee removes her clothes and stands fully naked. Her bare breast and butt are seen. Later, she and Fred kiss in bed and then have sex during which her bare breasts are seen (as is sexual movement) and he climaxes.
  • At a party, women are seen in skimpy bikinis, including many whose bare butts are seen in their thong bottoms.
  • A dead woman's bare breasts are seen.
  • Mr. Eddy offers Peter a video tape. Peter asks if it's a porno tape and Mr. Eddy says yes and tells him, "It will give you a boner."
  • Peter and his girlfriend make out in his car. She then removes her shirt and her bare breasts are seen. He feels and kisses them and later they have sex in the backseat (with movement seen and heavy breathing sounds heard).
  • Peter and Alice make out and she moves his hand to her crotch. Later they're seen having sex (lots of sexual movement and his bare butt are seen) with him between her legs.
  • Peter has sex again, with lots of movement (with sounds) and his bare butt being seen again.
  • Alice is forced to strip (at gunpoint) in front of Mr. Eddy and she removes all but her tiny bikini underwear and her bare breasts are seen.
  • A porno film plays on a screen showing a man having sex with a woman from behind.
  • Peter and Alice have sex in the desert at night, their actions illuminated by their car's headlights. Her bare breasts are seen as he's first on top of her. Moments later, she's on top of him and he caresses her breasts. Sexual movement is seen in both positions. Later she walks away and her nude butt is seen.
  • Alice is seen having sex with Mr. Eddie and is heard moaning.
  • Two women make out and one of them licks the other's nipple. Moments later, two women do the same to one woman.
  • Fred and Pete smoke occasionally, while Renee and Alice seldom do.
  • Other people in the backgrounds of certain shots also smoke.
  • Fred thinks that Renee is having an affair, but this is never verbally discussed.
  • What in the world this movie is supposed to be about, or mean.
  • A police detective punches Fred in the nose.
  • Mr. Eddy runs another driver, who was tailgating him, from the road. His bodyguard smashes a window and pulls out the driver. Mr. Eddy hits and threatens the driver with a gun several times.
  • Mr. Eddy indirectly threatens Peter with death if he ever finds anyone messing around with Alice.
  • Peter strikes a man over the head, knocking him to the floor. Later, the man gets up and attacks Peter who flips him over. The man's face lands on a glass table, the extent of which kills him.
  • Fred hits Mr. Eddy on the head several times with a gun and then forces him into the trunk of his car.
  • Fred slashes Mr. Eddy's throat and blood pours out.
  • The mystery man shoots Mr. Eddy dead.

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    © Mike Hartmann