I wish I would have reversed the viewing, because watching Fire Walk With Me would have given me some more insights on the Twin Peaks finale on Showtime. Despite being 25 years apart, it is clear that David Lynch’s vision continued right where he left off.
Fire Walk With Me was heavily included in the new series, including scenes straight from the film. When this first came out, there was some outrage at the choice of making a prequel to Twin Peaks instead of dealing with the aftermath of the second season finale.
Plus, as with much of David Lynch’s work, this was tough to understand.
After seeing the third season on Showtime, Fire Walk With Me makes considerable more sense. Many of the images, from the green owl ring to the Black Lodge fit in nicely with the narrative from the series.
There are plenty of unanswered questions, but you are going to get those in anything by David Lynch. Chiefly among them include what ever happened to Special Agent Chester Desmond (Chris Isaacs), who was assigned to investigate the murder of Teresa Banks. The Banks killing was the first known victim of Bob (Frank Silva). This “Blue Rose” case was the beginning of the movie before it abruptly switched to the last week in the life of homecoming queen and all around great girl, Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). Laura was not what she seemed. She was involved in a second life of sex and drugs. As she spiraled out of control, she desperately reached out for someone or something normal. Her best friend Donna (Moira Kelly) she had to distance herself from when she realized that she might be dragging Donna down with her. And her secret love James (James Marshall) did not understand the complexities of her life.
Laura had been sexually abused and raped by Bob since she was 12 years old, and when she discovered that Bob was possessing her father Leland (Ray Wise) and that Leland had been the one abusing her, things went off the track.
The story of Laura Palmer is a tragic one, full of violence and sadness. Watching the movie after seeing the series places a new emphasis on many thing, including the role of Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) in what happened. One wonders when she became what we saw in season three.
I do not think you can understand or appreciate this movie without having seen the Twin Peaks series. The first two seasons for sure, but the third season helps as well. That limitation does make this a niche viewing, though the basic story of Laura Palmer and her descent into darkness transcends the series. You will have a deeper understanding if you are a Peaks fan.
There is little to no humor in the film that one could say is repeatedly depressing. In fact, it does look upon some very disturbing ideas and images that simply do not include humor. In this way, it is considerably different than the Twin Peaks series.
Looking back on the film, I thought this was better than the last time I saw it. Perhaps the increased knowledge of the mythology of Twin Peaks may have helped that out. There was so much darkness here that you must be in the proper place to deal with such a tragic story.