Friday, August 17, 2007


It is perhaps a mistake to tackle David Lynch's most troubling, intricate, and obscure film by starting it just after midnight and drinking too much wine as it unspools. I was sleepy and cognitively impaired when I needed to be alert at focused.

Not really. A sleepy and cognitively impaired state likely helps more than hinders one's ability to "get" Inland Empire. I must admit failure on the first go-round. I understand the slippy trickery of Lynch, and know his cues and signals that a transition between realities has just or is about to occur. I understand that much of the film is not the real story of the film, and that there are layers of fantasy, dream, hallucination, and wish-fulfillment to penetrate in order to find out what really happened in room 47, and to whom. There's a relatively simple and obvious solution (Laura Dern's actress character has a schizophrenic break and becomes her character Susan Blue) that seems too obvious. Something deeper transpires, and it involves the morose spectator watching the mysterious and deeply troubling rabbit-headed humanoid TV sitcom. Liking animals and understanding them is a recurring theme, as are unpaid debts, the marketplace, and borrowing.

It has something to do with telling time. It is already tomorrow instead of tonight. Something happened in Poland which launched the disturbance and the delusional experience. I have to re-enter this labyrinth again armed with clues gathered the first time. But I'm going to wait because though the film is beautiful and interesting, watching Inland Empire is like having your mind broken on the rack. Cha saw the briefest of sequences and fled in terror.


Silenus said...

I hated this film. Lynch has already made it twice. He is perhaps the most masturbatory, self-referential film director in history. That said, he's also one of the most brilliant directors. However, this is not one of his brilliant films, in my opinion. I don't know if I really "got it" but I don't know if I care. Slowing down dialouge and injecting the absurd creates Lynch's desired effect, but he's used these techniques before and has already covered the ground he's surveying again in Inland Empire.

Didn't mean to rant. It's just that this movie severely disappointed me after I dashed to the theater to see it.

geoff said...

Rant away! It's definitely a continuation of the Lost Highway Mulholland Drive material, no doubt about it.

I hate some of his films too--Lost Highway and Fire Walk With Me in particular. Fire Walk With Me is an absolute piece of shit.

Inland Empire lacks the humor that balances many of his best films. I liked it though--it had the mood and creative spark of Eraserhead. And lots of nods to Bergman and Cocteau and Sunset Blvd etc. I might waste another three hours figuring it out and then come to hate it.