MOVIE REVIEW: David Lynch: The Art of Life

Documentary following David Lynch in his art studio near his house in Hollywood.  The film features solely the story of Lynch by Lynch.  We travel through a somewhat All American Childhood to his days learning how to develop his paintings in Art College.  The film does not deal with his films until the final part of the movie where we see the behind the scenes photos and video of Eraserhead.

I like David Lynch, some of you know him from Eraserhead, some know him from Twin Peaks, and other will know him as the bar owner from The Cleveland Show.  When watching his work you get  a darker more surreal glimpse into the world around us.  But this documentary focuses on the paintings that were his first love and shows us the story of how the man became the man we know today.

Sadly this film didn’t grab my attention, I love a good documentary, but he spends too much time sitting around his studio, or workshop, smoking.  He smokes a lot, nearly every scene, he’s starting, or in the middle, or even finishing one off.  I don’t mind people smoking but this guy is like a chimney.  There is also no contrasting voice about his work, or life, it’s just Lynch on Lynch, and we see him working on his art through the film.  I get that he wants to point out that he’s not just a director, that he has other strings to his bow, but here you don’t get a clearer image of the man.  It’s a sanitised version of his life up to Eraserhead.

When you look at the documentary and if you know anything about serial killers, which I do on researching part of Tim and Lynne the graphic novel, you will see that Lynch actually stays on the right side of that thin line between artist and killer.  I’m not joking about this his ‘experiments’ on decaying animals is something that you’ll see is a trait of some of the best, if you get what I mean.

Why does this documentary not hold my attention, or leave my beautiful backside numb?  Well while informative about one of Hollywood’s most creative minds, the lack of the counterpoint in the documentary means that the whole thing feels like a vanity piece more than an in depth exploration of the man.  The home movies from his early years are great to watch, and the stories of his family are a great insight to the man today, but there should have been a deeper venture into his life.  The film is about him discovering painting and his continued love of the medium, expressing his deep thoughts onto canvas, however as a fan of his movies and TV work I’m there in the IFI Dublin and wanting to know that there was something deeper from his childhood that inspired his work.

True fans of the man will love this, I’m not that much of a fan, more a distant admirer so that’s probably why I wanted more from this.  I’m going to binge watch the new series of Twin Peaks and put this in the rear view mirror.

Directors: Jon NguyenRick Barnes, Olivia Neergaard-Holm
Star:  David Lynch


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