2019 Milwaukee Film Festival – Day 13 – TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME
Twenty-seven years ago, TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME opened and promptly flopped at the box office. Last night, a sold out, enthusiastic crowd watched the film in the biggest theater in Milwaukee. It’s a testament to the power of time to reevaluate a film.
I have a long history with TWIN PEAKS. I remember seeing TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME in a sparsely attended theater in 1992. Time has certainly clarified my feelings. I don’t feel that when it engages in nostalgia, it measures up. Sure, Chris Isaak and Kiefer Sutherland visiting the anti-Twin Peaks is amusing, and I think David Lynch is actively making fun of people that overanalyze and attempt to formally decode his films, but it doesn’t add much. Neither is much added with Kyle MacLachlan and David Bowie.
But, what a revelation Sheryl Lee is as Laura Palmer, finally presented unfiltered, in her final days. Horrific final days at that. There’s a descent where it’s not only Laura’s life at stake, but her soul. TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME, perhaps surprisingly, transforms into one of the best horror films of the 1990s by sheer force of will and performance.
Couple that with Ray Wise’s finest turn on screen, and whatever dead ends of narrative and fan service to the television show there is, are rendered completely moot. Laura’s story digs deep, and it’s unsurprising to learn that survivors of abuse have particularly found meaning in it.
The retrospective screening of the film would be enough, but Milwaukee Film has a gift for turning these film screenings into live events. This live event featured Sheryl Lee and Ray Wise being flown in for a Q & A and later meet and greet. Alas, I wasn’t able to do the meet and greet, but the Q & A was highly entertaining.
Ray Wise sung. Sheryl Lee recounted that her best times filming involved scenes where she was neither crying, screaming, or taking off her clothes. And everyone in attendance had a good time.
These type of events are a one time thing. But, more of these one time things are still happening. The 2019 Milwaukee Film Festival runs from October 17, 2019 to October 31, 2019. Information and tickets can be found at Milwaukee Film’s website mkefilm.org.