What really happened to Laura Palmer?
What series of events led to her lying dead on the shoulder of the road, wrapped in plastic?
Writer/Director and Producer David Lynch’s fingertips dripped with the ink of the macabre yet again in
this 1992 horror mystery thriller "Fire Walk With Me," an antecedent storyline to the classic cult-following
series “Twin Peaks.”
I’m the Ranting Usher. Let me talk you to your seat.
While making the transition from television to the big screen, David Lynch expanded his creative license
to include darker content as well as gorier and more disturbing imagery to justify an R-rating, no doubt
earning a broader fan-base.
No one is innocent. Not even the girl we’re expected to care the most about. Nowhere is that clearer or
more emphasized than in “Fire Walk With Me.”
David Lynch thrives on the power of subtlety and implication. He never tells audiences exactly what the
title phrase means, but rather allows them to read into and interpret it on their own through scenes such
as the one below.
Laura’s behavior, dabbling in drugs, sleeping around and throwing emo fits may be erratic and
irrational, but don’t judge her too harshly. She is as much a victim as she is careless and naïve.
Laura is stalked by Bob. He abuses her. The name Bob may not sound very intimidating, but he is not
a man. He is a manifestation of the evil inside us.
He could be anyone.
That is just one example of David Lynch’s horrific talent.
Sheryl Lee’s performance as the ill-fated Laura Palmer, Ray Wise as her father Leland, Dana Ashbrook,
Kyle MacLachlan and other original cast members of the TV series helped maintain the somber spirit
that viewers grew to love about “Twin Peaks.”
That is precisely why viewers tolerate the semi-unnecessary subplot at the beginning of “Fire Walk
With Me,” in which Special Agent Chester Desmond investigates the murder of Teresa Banks.
Teresa’s death may have resembled that of Laura Palmer, and even though all the evidence suggested
that the killer, who was as yet unknown, would strike again, the similarities may have been a little too
It was Laura’s backstory that we wanted to see the most. David Lynch was well aware of this, it seems,
as FBI Agent Chester Desmond subsequently vanished from the plot and was never heard from again.
Chester might just as well have vanished from the storyboards altogether.
Laura’s inevitable death, the events leading up to it, and Special Agent Cooper’s dream sequences
were well-written and well-executed. Through those sequences transpiring within the Black Lodge and
elsewhere, Lynch delivers what audiences would come to expect. Those who did not see “Twin Peaks”
and are experiencing it for the first time in “Fire Walk With Me” are in for a frighteningly compelling
Between the show "Twin Peaks" and the movie "Fire Walk With Me," David Lynch has birthed the flow
of brilliant twin waterfalls.
I'm the Ranting Usher. Those interested in a separate review of the “Twin Peaks” TV series can find it
on the Film page of this website under the category Reboots, Remakes & Sitcoms.
Do you agree with my review? How would you compare this prequel film to the TV series? Let me know
in the comments section.
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