Laura Palmer is exhumed most cruelly in David Lynch's "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me," the perversely moving, profoundly self-indulgent prequel of the director's darkly comic TV series. Memorable moments and ludicrous ones collide in this psychic autopsy, a weirdly fundamentalist cogitation on the intersection of Heaven, Hell and Washington state. Fans of the dark comedy will find little to laugh about -- unless it is Lynch's pretentiousness -- in this horrific look at Laura's last seven days.
Lynch, who collaborated on the screenplay with the series's writer, Robert Engels, makes his gravest mistake when he attempts to set the story in a variety of realms. We're not talking about what goes on under the manicured lawns as in "Blue Velvet," but the dimension of dreams, the Devil's workshop and Agent Cooper's extrasensory vibes. Laura's story is powerful enough, and Twin Peaks sure doesn't need gussying up with Sunday School angels. Worst of all is the Man From Another Planet (Michael J. Anderson), a dwarf in a red suit who talks backward. Luckily there are subtitles.
The story begins a year before Laura's death with the FBI's investigation into the death of Teresa Banks (Pamela Gidley) by a couple of quirky G-men (Kiefer Sutherland, Chris Isaak). They disappear but not before predicting that the murderer will strike again. Meanwhile, Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) has an out-of-pajama visitation from the presumed-dead Agent Jeffries (David Bowie), which fills him with foreboding. Somehow linked into the Red Room, where the Man From Another Planet Lives. The man says things like "Give me all your garborzonia [pain and suffering]."