David Lynch's Mulholland Drive earned some more love as the best film of the decade (2000-2009) this week as Film Comment published the results of a poll of critics, film enthusiasts and filmmakers the world over. This choice matches the results of the recent IndieWire poll, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the French film magazine Cahiers du Cinema. Lynch's film was released in 2001 and received a single Oscar nomination, for Best Director. Lynch lost to Ron Howard, whose A Beautiful Mind, incidentally, has not turned up anywhere on any of these polls.
Mulholland Drive tells the story of a fresh-faced actress (Naomi Watts) who arrives in Hollywood and discovers an amnesiac runaway (Laura Elena Harring) living in her aunt's house. Together, they try to solve the mystery of what happened to her and why. Two-thirds of the way through, the narrative suddenly flips and Watts is playing a burned-out, jaded and jilted actress and Harring is playing a successful actress who is dating her director (Justin Theroux). And then there is "the cowboy" and some gangsters, and a monster living behind a restaurant, and a key and a box, and... Well, moviegoers have been puzzling this one out for nine years now, and it never seems to lose its allure.
The Film Comment poll had seven films in common in its top ten with the top ten of the IndieWire poll: In the Mood for Love, Yi Yi, Syndromes and a Century, The New World, There Will Be Blood, and The Death of Mr. Lazarescu. Lynch's only other film of the decade, Inland Empire, placed at #26 on Film Comment's list. In related news, Film Comment also published its poll of the twenty best films of 2009, leading with Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker (#46 on the decade list), Lucrecia Martel's The Headless Woman (#50), and Olivier Assayas' Summer Hours (#70). What does it all mean? Not much, except that if you rent any of these titles (except A Beautiful Mind), you're in for a real treat.