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  • Jeff Beck

Lynch/Oz: An Intriguing Analysis of an Unusual Auteur (Blu-ray)


The Film:


Anyone who's the least bit familiar with the work of popular writer/director David Lynch ("Twin Peaks," "Mulholland Dr.," "Blue Velvet," etc.) knows that there's always been an otherworldly quality to most of his projects, one that, much of the time, has his protagonists thrust into strange places and situations that ultimately test their limits. Because of this, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that many filmmakers & admirers have noticed similarities & connections to the classic story of "The Wizard of Oz," where Dorothy indeed finds herself in an unusual land and sent on an unexpected adventure.


For his latest documentary "Lynch/Oz," filmmaker Alexandre O. Philippe has assembled a group of these individuals, including fellow directors John Waters ("Pink Flamingos," "Hairspray") and David Lowery ("A Ghost Story," "The Green Knight"), to analyze these intriguing links that permeate Lynch's eccentric filmography, from the most overt & obvious homages to connections that are implanted a little further under the surface.


"Lynch/Oz" is a rather odd little documentary, but when discussing the work of an unusual auteur like David Lynch, it really couldn't be any other way. Most of his films are bizarre, labyrinthine journeys that can elicit some fascinating discussion as to what it all means or what certain elements of them represent. Lynch himself is rather notorious in that he really doesn't like to outright explain his work, but who can blame him? To blatantly tell everyone what everything in his films means would be to literally pull back the curtain and ruin the mystery within.


And so, as mentioned, this has led to others speculating with their own interpretations, including those brought together by Philippe to share their thoughts on Lynch's work and how it relates to "The Wizard of Oz." The documentary itself is basically split into six chapters with the commentators reading their essays over footage of "Oz" and Lynch's work, but also of various other films that fit into the discussion. As far as their comments go, it's hard to say that there's anything particularly revelatory in them, as they mainly share examples of how many films in Lynch's filmography share similar characters, narratives, and themes with those of "Oz," but it's still intriguing to listen to the connections that they make.


Some of these connections are indeed rather obvious, like those in "Wild at Heart," while others more so revolve around protagonists who find themselves out of their normal element, like Paul in "Dune," Jeffrey in "Blue Velvet," and Betty in "Mulholland Dr." Again, it's nothing that really blows the lid off of his films or anything, but it's clear that his work has been influenced by "The Wizard of Oz" here and there. Lynch himself has said that there's not a day that goes by that he doesn't think about the film, so perhaps that's telling us that these connections are a little more than coincidental. Whether they are or not, it's a fascinating prism to analyze his work through, and ultimately makes this documentary an intriguing viewing for fans of either side of the comparison.


Video/Audio:


"Lynch/Oz" comes to Blu-ray in a 1.77:1, 1080p High Definition transfer of outstanding quality. Being a documentary about comparing films, most of the footage is of "The Wizard of Oz," Lynch's films, and a variety of other works, but the image is always quite sharp & clear. Likewise, the 5.1 Surround audio track is fantastic, giving you all of the participants' commentary and the dialogue of the various films in excellent quality. Overall, Janus Films and Criterion have done a wonderful job for the film's physical home release.


Special Features:


Meet the Filmmakers (17 Minutes): An interview with the film's director, Alexandre O. Philippe.


Conclusion:


"Lynch/Oz" may not offer anything particularly groundbreaking or revelatory when it comes to Lynch's eccentric filmography, but it still makes for a fascinating & engaging experience to hear these fans extrapolate their own meanings as they analyze the connection between his unusual works and what is perhaps the most quintessential fantasy adventure of all time.


Score: 3.5/5


Available on Blu-ray from Janus Contemporaries starting tomorrow.


Follow me on Twitter @BeckFilmCritic.



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