Inland Empire (Bilingual)
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Though Inland Empire's three hours of befuddling abstraction could try the patience of the most devoted David Lynch fan, its aim to reinvigorate the Lynch-ian symbolic order is ambitious, not to mention visually arresting. The director's archetypes recognizable from previous movies once again construct the film's inherent logic, but with a new twist. Sets vibrate between the contemporary and a 1950s alternate universe crammed with dim lamps, long hallways, mysterious doors, sparsely furnished rooms and, this time, a vortex/apartment/sitcom set where rabbit-masked humans dwell, and a Polish town where women are abused and killed. Instead of speaking backwards, mystic soothsayers and criminals speak Polish. Filmed on video, the film's look has the sinister, frightening feel of a Mark Savage film or a bootlegged snuff movie. Constant close-ups, both in and out of focus, make Inland Empire feel as if a stalker covertly filmed it. A straightforward, hokey plot unravels during the first third of Inland Empire to ground the viewer before a dive off the deep end. Actor Nikki Grace (Laura Dern) is cast as Susan Blue, an adulterous white trash Southerner, in a film that mimics too closely her actual life with an overbearingly jealous and dangerous husband. When Nikki and co-star Devon (Justin Theroux) learn that the cursed film project was earlier abandoned when its stars were murdered, the pair lose their grasp of reality. Nikki suffers a schizophrenic identity switch to Sue that lasts until nearly the film's end. Suspense builds as Nikki's alter ego sleuths her way through surreal situations to discover her killer, culminating in Sue's gnarly death on set. Sue's actions drag on because any sign of a narrative thread disappears due to idiosyncratic editing. Non-sensical scenes still captivate, however, such as when Sue stumbles onto the soundstage where she finds Nikki (herself) rehearsing for Sue's part. In this meta-film about identity slippage, Dern's multiple characters remind one of how a victim can become the hunter in their fight for survival. Lynch's portrayal of Nikki/Sue's increasing paranoia is, in its own confusion, utterly realistic. Laura Dern has created her own Lady Macbeth, undone by her guilt over infidelity. Even though Inland Empire is too long and too random, Laura Dern's performance coupled with Lynch's video experiments make it magical. --Trinie Dalton
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Stills from Inland Empire (click for larger image)
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Top Customer Reviews
This film has so much, that it can be difficult to watch. You can see yourself, and also your other self that may have been, or perhaps in another universe. There is more to our world that what our small philosophies can imagine. Time and space are not handed to you on a silver platter with a clock and a ruler in this film; Lynch's mind works differently, thank goodness, and we can move beyond the straight lines and dumb plotlines of TV and other movies that have become blockbusters (the rabbits in Inland Empire seem to epitomize this mentality). I enjoyed this film much more the second time I watched it, and I am looking forward to seeing it again, for I see something new and amazing in it, that stirs me every time I see it.
The film's an art piece for the adventurous viewer.
It's not the best work Lynch has done- Mulholland Drive is still his masterpiece as far as I'm concerned.
But this film is something special, that's for sure.
Let's hope Lynch doesn't retire any time soon...
The story is totally incomprehensible, and it is obvious that the film actually wants it to be so. Instead, we have a continuous sequence of compelling and disturbing images with intriguing lighting and shadows surrounded by a creepy musical score, all coming together to create that David Lynch surreal mood of non-sensical existential horror. Sadly, once the novelty wears off after the first half hour, what we have left is a painfully boring film that gives us nothing in terms of story or entertainment. The fact that this film is almost three hours long makes it virtually impossible to watch in one sitting except for the David Lynch super fan or the masochistic film viewer.
Most recent customer reviews
Torturously long, ridiculously inconsistent, a film only a film student could say they loved. The Nina Simone song during the closing credits is fantastic but do yourself a favour... Read morePublished on Dec 20 2007 by Citizen
Watching "Mulholland drive" had given me hope that, eventually, all the loose ends would tidy up and make sense. Instead it went the other way. Read morePublished on Nov. 22 2007 by Patrick Dumais
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