Inland Empire Reviews
I'm writing to let you know that I get it. I got it after Lost Highway, and you made Mullholland Drive just in case I didn't get it, but I assure you I did.
I get that truth is not immutable. I get that you're a post-modernist. I get you blur the line between imagination and reality. More to the point, I get that you see little difference between imagination and reality - that the lives we lead are as much in our heads as they are in objective reality, which you don't believe in. I get that epistemological explorations are interesting to you. I even get that female sexuality is a mystery to you, and even though this may be true for most men, you deserve credit for presenting it so starkly in your films.
You see that everything you're doing in your films finds an understanding audience. But when I watch Inland Empire, the only new thing I see is a statement that our lives are over-determined by media. It seems like all you're doing is re-hashing old post-modern theory ... or simply fucking with us.
Either way, I think you should move on. A filmmaker of your talents can show us what's post post-modernism. What comes next? Instead you're simply trying to tell us again that the traditional narrative is flawed, and it all makes me wonder if film is the best medium for your ideas. Why not write an essay? I think your ideas would be clearer and find a more receptive purchase, and I wouldn't feel like my brain had just been fucked into cookie batter, as it did after Inland Empire.
Don't get me wrong: I liked it, but I couldn't help feeling that at this point your post-modernist views were more effective when they were more subtle, as in Twin Peaks and Wild at Heart. At this point, I'm thinking you made The Straight Story just to prove that you were sane. At this point, you really need to stop jacking off to a picture of Jacques Derrida.
Please, Mr. Lynch, return to subtle post-modernism and don't beat us over the head with the mutability of truth. If you're really searching for something to do, I'd love to know what happens in Twin Peaks after Agent Cooper turns evil. Does he kill Audrey? Please let him kill Audrey. It would make a great movie, and it would give Kyle MacLaughlin a reason to fix his hair.
I don't normally make threats, but I feel I must in this case: if you don't stop it, I don't care if you do get Patricia Arquette to take her clothes off again (thank you, by the way), I will one-star the shit out of your next movie.
Your faithful fan,
There are vignettes of brilliance - a simple scene from the "movie" where the two main charactors "act" a scene that parellells their suspected romance - but then the film isn't really about that at all and veers into a series of totally non-connected (though they were, perhaps, supposed to) overlapping set pieces involving other people and other places that I guess were all supposed to be happening simultaneously - I had a brief thought that perhaps this was, in its own way, paying homage to "The Eternal Champion" series of Michael Moorcock; where different aspects of the same hero existed in several universes.
And yet Laura Dern's charactor doesn't really seem to be connected to the Russian charactors at all, except that they too seem to be "caught" in something and have vague recollections of deja vu.
There are some interesting camera shots and the use of lighting to kind of smear the screen, but I swear if I see one more long, drawn out scene of a maze of hallways (Ok, ok, I get it - rats in a maze!) I'm going to cut my eyeballs out.
As usual with a Lynch production, you get absurd charactors and some really weird ones that seem to be walk-ons. As you wonder about what each is saying, or if there is any point to them at all (perhaps another message - there is no point to art, other than art itself).
In the end the film circles back on itself as if nothing happened at all; a very existential view and perhaps the point after all in a film that was disturbing and too long by at least an hour.
So that's not even the strange part, yesterday I was sitting on the couch watching my favorite sitcom (you know, the one about the family of giant rabbits who live in a human house and wear human clothes) when I hear the postman on the porch. I get up and meet him at the door and guess what he hands me? Yes, my Netflix copy of Inland Empire! The mailman noticed my excitement and asked me what was up. When I showed him which film it was he got a worried look in his eyes. "What's wrong?" I asked. He proceeded to tell me that he'd heard that Inland Empire was cursed. "What?" I exclaimed, "What do you mean by cursed?" He said that it was actually a remake of a film made a long time ago in Germany. He knew a guy who knew a guy who knew a guy who was there when it happened. It seems that this other film was being reviewed by a gentleman in Germany when, suddenly, the guy writing the review was brutally murdered.
Can you imagine the stress that put on me? Just thinking about such odd occurrences made me spill ketchup all over my brand new t-shirt. Well sir, you'll never guess what I found when I came upstairs to change. In my room there were SIX prostitutes! Confirmed, I counted them twice, six prostitutes in my house, every single one pantomiming Little Eva tunes and doing Busby Berkeley dance routines. I was fit to be tied. I said, "Ladies, I have here in my hand a DVD of David Lynch's Inland Empire which is pretty darn near three hours long. I have neither the time nor the inclination to affiliate with all of you at present so four of you are going to have to leave."
That's when the phone rang. It was that rabbit in the business suit. He told me that there were some men on the way to take me to a place where I could get better. He said that my insurance wouldn't cover private amenities so I would likely have to share a room with someone. He said not to worry though because he was pretty sure that the bed next to Mr. Lynch was empty and the two of us could share a Dell laptop. That way David could get started on his next screenplay and I could post my review of Inland Empire.
To be continued...
Because if you're going to watch Inland Empire you're not going to do it because you thought the story was real interesting. You're going to watch it because you love/ are quite curious/ are somewhat curious about David Lynch's most "ambitious" project. If you didn't like any of his previous films this is a waste of time.
Universally, Inland Empire is a walk through David Lynch's personal Southern mythologies, Eastern European mob nightmares, feminine ideals, demons, gods, fears, archtypes. Self-indulgent and grandieuse. Product, it seems, of a desire exorcize his perceptions about filmmaking and how it connects, reflects, or involves suffering and love and lust and fear.
Lynch relies on his performers producing empathy and on creating horror, erotic, or dreamlike moods. And he knows how to do that.
In the midst of this wonderful chaos are Justin Theroux, Laura Dern, and Jeremy Irons. The "rational" part of the film, or so we are led to think. Their efforts to stay visible between the mirrors and smoke of Inland Empire are admirable. Dern and Theroux repeat and distort their character(s) and it's fascinating to watch them.
Sorry if I'm not being very illuminating. I have to acknowledge my shortcomings. I have no fucking idea of what happens here. Perhaps it's a woman's schyzophrenia. I didn't mind, I just lost myself in the images and the atmospheres. Lynchian at that. Which is why it's important that a) this isn't the first of his films you'll watch because you may hate him b) you like and appreciate Lynch and will gladly put up with him at his most capricious.
What can I say? Divine uncertainty.
I give it somewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars out of 5.
I think this film is a little like modern art, you either think it's a work of genius or you just don't get the appeal.
Totally different feel from his other work, but with all the Lynchisms that we know and love.
Each film is truly a work of art.
You really have to look at all of the layers, in order to appreciate the finished product.
They mean different things to different people.
You usually either love then or you hate them, seldom do you find people 'indifferent' to them.
Laura Dern really proves herself as an actress in this film.
Yet another underated Lynch film.
That last scene on the street is awesome though :)