"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]." "
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"The impulse in the arts to build idols and smash them has found another victim in David Lynch. His early films (Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet) won a cult following that swelled in 1990 when Twin Peaks debuted and stretched the confines of TV. For a few months, Lynch was a trendy darling. Then viewers, impatient with the erratic quality of the series, turned on Peaks and on Lynch. Boos greeted this movie prequel at Cannes in May. In two years, Lynch has gone from genius to leper."