And the angels wouldn't help you....because they've all gone away
This is essentially a 1992 film prequel to the Twin Peaks
TV series, which was keenly anticipated due to the popularity of the series. It was not received well at the Cannes Film Festival, and garnered largely negative reviews in America. Further, many of the fans of the television series were not keen, due to the fact that several characters from the TV series did not make an appearance, and the lead character (Dale Cooper) only had a few scenes.
It did receive some positive reviews, however, and some fans do appreciate it.
The plot deals with the last days of Laura Palmer, and the investigation into the murder of Teresa Banks.
Fire Walk With Me provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents
- Awful Truth: Causes Laura to have a Heroic BSOD
- 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.
- Bondage Is Bad: It's certainly presented in as unsavoury a way as possible.
- Break the Cutie: The process is well underway by the beginning of the film
- Broken Bird: Laura. So, so much.
- 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 Twin Peaks television series, the film is noticeably more bleak. The focus is firmly on Laura, not the kooky surrounding cast of the TV show, and the eccentric humour of the series is absent.
- Daylight Horror: Twin Peaks always liked to mix the mundane with the terrifying, and the film is no exception.
- Dirty Cop: The entire Deer Meadows sheriff's office.
- 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.
- 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.
- Magic Realism
- My God, What Have I Done??
- Never Heard That One Before
- Not Screened for Critics
- The Other Darrin: Most notably Moira Kelly as Donna, since Lara Flynn Boyle bowed out.
- 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 organise 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?"
- 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.
- What Year Is This?: Agent Philip Jeffries (David Bowie, of all people) demands to know this. It's implied that he's somehow Unstuck in Time.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: A particularly tear jerking take on this trope. 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.