Twin Peaks : Pilot Episode (1990)

Genres - Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller, Surrealist Film  |   Run Time - 120 min.  |   Countries - United States   |  
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David Lynch took a murder mystery, mixed it with equal parts soap opera and his own surrealist vision and produced one of the most memorable television pilots in the medium's history. Twin Peaks is a fascinating tightrope-walk: Lynch's ultra-cool unconventional storytelling techniques are modified just enough to allow the movie to reach a broad audience, but he still infuses the work with enough perverse touches to keep die-hard fans happy. The eerie score by Angelo Badalamanti -- highlighted by the theme song "Falling" performed by Julee Cruise -- and the crystalline cinematography give the movie an dreamy creepiness and haunting, ethereal quality. The murder mystery is the hook on which Lynch hangs his highly-personalized, symbolic imagery. Much the same manner as Blue Velvet (though with a more delicate touch), he examines the dark underbelly lurking just under the surface of seemingly normal, happy stretches of Americana. Twin Peaks features some of the most striking images, violent emotions, and enigmatic dialogue of any network television premiere. Kyle MacLachlan is the linchpin of the cast, his incessantly cheerful nerdiness and "aw shucks" determination providing an oasis of normalcy in the vast ocean of freakishness around him. The two-hour movie is distinguished by an amazing cast that includes Sherilyn Fenn as the strikingly beautiful bad girl Audrey, as well as Sheryl Lee in the double role of the murdered Laura Palmer and her eerily similar cousin Maddy, plus Lara Flynn Boyle, Madchen Amick, Peggy Lipton, Piper Laurie and Joan Chen. "Who Killed Laura Palmer?" was the question to ask around the proverbial water cooler the Monday after this pilot was aired. Twin Peaks was a precursor to some of the more cult-ish and quirky television series which would appear in the 1990s, including Northern Exposure and X-Files. In some video releases, this version of the series' pilot has been augmented by 15 minutes of extra footage aimed for overseas markets (folks who may not have been able to see the subsequent series) which contains key information regarding the identity of Laura Palmer's killer.