I think one of the most interesting things that modern psychology could do is truly entering in the mind of an insane human. Why am I saying that? Because what is known by now about pathologies is only a continuous guess on the basis of behaviour and some patterns observed in time.
Well, David Lynch does exactly this thing: he is out of the conventional psychological movies and enters in the mind of an insane. Imagine a film where you are in the mind of a troubled man and you observe all his distortions on reality. Add to that the fact that the central character tries to escape in his own mind from a crime that he can’t accept, and you’ll obtain a first image of the ‘Lost Highway’.
The plot is simple: Fred Madison (a jazz saxophonist), who lives a normal life with his wife (Renee Madison) is waking over night having in his mind pictures with him killing his wife. After a while he’s locked in prison and he is transformed suddenly in a younger man, having a relationship with Alice Wakefield, who is an alter-ego of his wife. He doesn’t exactly understand what’s happening to him, being accompanied from time to time by a mysterious and aggressive man.
The story has nothing special on its own, and here appears David Lynch with his own style, altering time and space and making from an apparently minor plot a whole agglomeration of tensions and effects. He let us enter in the Fred’s mind, think like Fred, see like Fred, distort reality like Fred. Picture for yourself a man who made an obsession for his own wife, he became possessive in time, he didn’t manage to control his impulses, he killed his wife and then his mind degraded very fast. He remembers only a few things from the crime, he’s locked in prison, and his mind makes him run away all the time from himself and throw him in a projection about a life suitable for him. He became a younger man, with influence on his wife (in this projection his wife is another woman, with same body but another attitude and function), whom he models to be accordingly with his wishes. And then he rearrange the world in his mind like a comfortable house. David Lynch is the one who makes you see this mad face (Madison is a good name for Fred in this case) of an apparently calm and stable person.
Finally, ad on all that the unique manner picked by Lynch to suggest insanity of Fred (the scene at the party, when Fred is visited by that mysterious man), the way Lynch points on the possessiveness of Fred (also at the party, when he starts to think that Renee is cheating on him with a friend of her – Fred becomes very tensioned and he forces her to leave the party) and you’ll obtain a global picture on ‘Lost Highway’. Enjoy!