David Lynch’s Lost Highway (1997) and Raymond Chandler’s The High Window (1942) each contain scenes in which ambiguous distances and fluid identities disorientate the protagonists. The principle of incrimination that underpins modern criminal investigation demands a rationalisation of time, space and identity. But these three categories can be undermined, intentionally by individual action, or inherently by the technologies and systems of modernity itself. In both Chandler and Lynch, audio-visual media, particularly the telephone, demonstrate the fragility of any rigid, rationalised conception of distance and proximity, undermining the possibility of the stable knowledge by which the detective might solve the case, and the accused might defend himself against incrimination. The particularly disorientating dynamics of relation experienced by Lynch’s protagonists are also analogous to his subversion of cinematic narrative structure – in which the possibility of narrative closure constantly seems to both approach and recede.
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Audio technology, Crime narrative, Urban space, Disorientation, Incrimination
How to Cite
Pavey, A., (2015) “‘I’m there right now. Call me’: Unstable identities and irregular distances from Raymond Chandler to David Lynch”, Tropos 2(1).