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Film: Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me
The angels wouldn't help you... because they've all gone away.Fire Walk With Me
is the 1992 film prequel to Twin Peaks
, and follows the events leading up to the death of Laura Palmer in the pilot episode.
Released after the series' 1991 conclusion, the film follows two separate plot threads. The first, which takes place a year before the events of the pilot, follows a pair of FBI agents (Chris Isaak and Kiefer Sutherland
) who are investigating the death of a waitress in the town of Deer Meadow.
After one of the agents disappears while following up on a clue, the film cuts to a year later, where high school student Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) is balancing her perception as Twin Peaks' resident "good girl", a pair of boyfriends, hidden secrets and her schizophrenic father Leland (Ray Wise)...
Production for the film started just after the series ended. The movie featured several cameos by characters from the series (including Kyle MacLachlan as Agent Cooper) and chronicled the final week leading up to Laura's murder and discovery in the series proper.
The film was not received well at the Cannes Film Festival, and garnered largely negative reviews in America. Like the series, though, it has received a better reception in recent years.
Fire Walk With Me provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents
- Awful Truth: Laura finding out that her father ripped pages from her diary causes her to have a Heroic BSOD.
- Laura's mother Sarah Palmer clearly knows something's going on(which makes her scream of "What's happening in this house?" at the start of the series even Harsher in Hindsight) but refuses to let herself put it together.
- Bitter Sweet Ending/Gainax Ending: In the last scene of the movie, Laura appears reunited with Agent Cooper and her guardian angel in the Black Lodge.
- Bizarro World: Deer Meadows is Bizarro Twin Peaks. The coffee is terrible, the waitresses are surly, the sherrif's a walking balding dickbag and his secretary and deputy are a pair of snarky assholes. Nobody's interested in solving the Teresa Banks case, and there seems to be no industry to speak of. The only thing they seem to have in common is their location and refusal to release bodies to the FBI.
- Bondage Is Bad: It's certainly presented in as unsavory a way as possible.
- Break the Cutie: The process is well underway by the time Laura's story begins, and it only gets worse from there for her.
- Brick Joke: Unlike Chet Desmond, Agent Sam Stanley actually gets a brief mention in the show, during the pilot. Agent Cooper's notes to Diane that they shouldn't let Sam work the Palmer case, and that Albert Rosenfield has it "more on the ball."
- Broken Bird: Laura. So, so much.
- Call Forward: The baby laxatives.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Played as dark as it can get.
- Cry into Chest: Laura does this with her confidant, Harold Smith.
- Darker and Edgier: Although it occupies the same disturbing universe as the series, the film is noticeably more bleak. The focus is firmly on Laura, not the kooky surrounding cast of the series, and the trademark eccentric humour is absent.
- Daylight Horror: The series always liked to mix the mundane with the terrifying, and the film is no exception.
- Dirty Cop: The entire Deer Meadows sheriff's office.
- The Dividual: Mike and The Man From The Other Place (who identifies himself as "The Arm") speak in unison when together in the Black Lodge.
- Don't Go in the Woods: For the love of God, don't go in the woods.
- Evil Me Scares Me: Played with, on a number of different levels.
- Freud Was Right: Inverted in-universe, with a plot that deliberately contradicts some of Freud's theories. Just as Freud believed that events in dreams always stood for something else, he believed believed that women who claimed to have been raped by their fathers were mentally processing some other trauma into this story and that it never really happened. In this film, the incestuous rape is the Awful Truth lurking underneath the more fantastical setup.
- Halfway Plot Switch: The first half is a Who Dunnit with Surreal Humor added in. The second half is a Psychological Thriller with Surreal Horror added in.
- Heroic BSOD: Poor Laura.
- Inelegant Blubbering: Sheryl Lee is excellent at crying. There's no single glittering tear, she properly sobs.
- Jurisdiction Friction: Between FBI agent Chet Desmond and the Deer Meadows sheriff's office.
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: By virtue of the fact that the film spoils that Laura is going to die on boxart in the plot summary.
- Looks Like Cesare: Laura, in a Jump Scare at Harold Smith's house. In the Deleted Scenes, Leland as he enters the Black Lodge. It seems to indicate possession by BOB.
- Magic Realism
- My God, What Have I Done?
- Never Heard That One Before:
- Noodle Incident: When we first meet him, Chet Desmond is arresting a bus driver and a pair of hookers next to an elementary school bus full of crying children parked on the side of a highway in Fargo, North Dakota. Why all this is happening is never made clear, and it probably never should be.
- Our Angels Are Different: At the end of the film, Laura is reunited with her guardian angel in the Black Lodge. It's actually not that 'different' and is instantly recognizable as a straightforward angel.
- Peek-A-Boo Corpse: During Laura's nightmare, the bloodied body of Annie Blackburn shows up in her bed. And then starts talking.
- Redemption Equals Death
- Right Through His Pants: BOB in the rape scene. Justified since it's actually Leland.
- Secret Diary: Played with. Laura find that pages have been torn from her diary, but does not know who did it. When she finds out it was Leland, her father, the awful truth starts slowly to sink in.
- Self-Deprecation: The scene with Lil the dancer and her bizarrely convoluted coded messages has been read as David Lynch gently mocking his own incomprehensibility.
- Sex for Solace: Laura's crying on Harold's shoulder looks like it was going to turn into this, seeing as she suddenly started kissing him passionately, but then she stopped herself. Possibly due to the Sex Is Evil and I Am Horny messages in the rest of the film, and Laura's own difficult relationship with her sexuality.
- Sex Is Evil and I Am Horny: A running theme throughout.
- Split Personality: Played with. There's Laura the homecoming queen who helped organize meals on wheels, and then there's the Laura who prostitutes herself and is a coke addict. On the same note, the whole BOB/Leland split personality/evil spirit issue
- Spooky Painting: The one Laura receives as a gift from Mrs Chalfont and the boy in the mask.
- Spot the Imposter: Although it's implied that the Dale we see is the good one, Agent Jeffries isn't sure. "Now who do you think that is, there?"
- Spy Speak/Talking through Technique: Gordon Cole uses this to dispatch his agents. He brings out a woman in a tailored red suit with a Blue Rose pinned to it to dance awkwardly in front of Agents Desmond and Stanley while he introduces her as his mother's sister's girl. This means they're going into hostile territory, will get Jurisdiction Friction, that drugs are involved, they'll be doing a lot of legwork, and that the sherrif's uncle is in federal prison. As for the Blue Rose? Those cases are special.
- Stepford Smiler: Laura. But seeing as this is David Lynch, practically everyone.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Chet Desmond was originally supposed to just be Dale Cooper. The end result, despite being a comparably brilliant FBI agent, is actually a very different character, though. For one thing, he's much less patient.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Played with. Laura would rather die than let herself be a conduit for BOB.
- The Watson: Agent Sam Stanley is this to Chet Desmond.
- Whatever Happened To The Mouse: Agent Chet Desmond vanishes from the film the moment he touches the ring. His disappearance is mentioned later, but remains unsolved. Given it's a Prequel to the first two seasons of the show, it's no surprise he's not yet been found.
- What Year Is This?: Agent Philip Jeffries (David Bowie) demands to know this. It's implied that he's somehow Unstuck in Time.
- Working the Same Case: The entire mood and tone of the film drastically changes when the action moves from Deer Meadow to Twin Peaks, but both stories are set in motion by the same killer. Judging by the deleted scenes and screenplay, Phillip Jeffries, Chet Desmond, and Dale Cooper all worked the same case.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: When the angel appears to Laura when she is despondent in the Black Lodge, it is letting her know that she is worth saving and it never abandoned her.