How do you review a David Lynch film? In most cases, i wait for a script to present its “when” and “where”; then i ask “why”. This guy had me asking “when” and “where” through his whole movie while i obviously knew “why” right from the start: because he’s David Lynch.
There is no point in writing a summary of any kind to Inland Empire, his latest work of cinematic art for the “artistically challenged”. Although there is a central character, a young actress played by Laura Dern, who gets a career-building part in a remake of an old, cursed story. The curse and the looming murder isn’t what this movie is about. Mystery is all around the atmosphere and freakish close-ups rip the characters out of their humanity but all Niki (Laura Dern) does is wander around a world made from parts of her own life story, the script she is given, her personal demons, a few polish speaking people and three bunnies.
I went to the screening extremely numb, having heard mixed reviews from the director’s fans. Still, i wasn’t bored. I got lost sometimes, i even drifted away from the movie once in a while but that’s acceptable in a three hour Lynch showdown. The thing is i could tell that all this was connected in someway. Of course they are, i thought to myself, they come from the same head. They have to be relevant. But how?
Time and continuity are non existent in that film’s universe. Space? What’s that? I quickly forgot about reason and tried to follow the experience closely.
Young people are obsessed with the future. Old people are obsessed with the past. But if knowing your past helps you predict your future how can you avoid it without denouncing your own self? Obviously the only thing certain about one’s future is their death… but its time is unpredictable. That alone nullifies the importance of time as we know it. Three hours, could easily be a moment, a single thought combined with a strong sense of danger; a sense… that your “time” has come.
One very strong feeling, strong enough to connect the past and the future, is guilt. If you regret something about your past it will haunt your actions in the future. A punishment of some kind is always on its way to you and redemption can be sought of in the most peculiar ways. Past and future interweaving in one’s mind, making the present completely irrelevant.
Those are a few of the thoughts i had during the film. There are more obvious remarks one can make and of course dozens of combinations. I liked Laura Dern’s acting, not subtle by any means but neither over the top,let’s not forget she learned about the vague script along the way. What i didn’t enjoy much was the poor digital visuals and the irritatingly imposing music. Those used to be quite strong points in a Lynch film.
Inland Empire, could be one single dreary thought or a weird nightmare produced by different kinds of fears; fear of success, for instance. Either way, a film where a beautiful woman shouts the words “tits and ass” while another one flashes, cannot be overlooked.