Monday, 18 April 2011
Twin Peaks ("Pilot", 1990)
Much of what makes Twin Peaks so notable (and so unsatisfying) was made-up by David Lynch as he went along, but in bringing the putative killer, school principal, and sheriff together in the library, he demonstrated his mastery of the mise-en-scène. The murder is made more horrific by speaking of it in a place of quiet and order. Bobby's struggle, as the sheriff and deputy escort him out, adds another layer of tension, awkwardness, and intensity to the unsettling melodrama.
In her preface to The Body in the Library, published in 1942, Agatha Christie recognized that her subject matter was already a well-established cliché. Here, Laura's presence suffuses the library, though her body was discovered elsewhere. The scene starts and ends with views of the library's empty chairs, recalling the shot of Laura's empty classroom desk we've just broken from. Expertly crafted stuff.