Inland Empire

"Terrible"

Inland Empire Review


To those who thought that Terry Gilliam's gothic frenzy Tideland was an auteur who had lost all restraint: In the words of Bachman-Turner Overdrive, you ain't seen nothing yet.

The notorious David Lynch has always held a rather slippery grip on narrative construction and a rather absent grasp on convention. At last we left him, his surreal dreamscape was the city of L.A. and a pair of lesbian lovers who may or may not have broken up because of a brash film director, and that's just the peripheral story. Mulholland Drive was Lynch at his very best, using Los Angeles as a canvas to purge all his hallucinatory digressions and woozy dreams into a noir-tinged love story. Lynch now returns to L.A. once again for Inland Empire, a 180-minute, digitally-shot nightmare that culls together the absolute worst attributes of Lynch and his personal style.

As per usual, a plot description is arduous. Laura Dern plays an actress named Nikki, who is married to a rather dangerous man who spoils her but gets scary when it comes to other men. Despite a strange fortune foretold by a neighbor, Nikki agrees to star in On High in Blue Tomorrows, the latest film by Kingsley (Jeremy Irons) that stars Devon (Justin Theroux), a flirty hunk of a leading man. One day while on set, Nikki, who is playing Sue in the film, hears a noise that she goes to investigate with Devon.

And, as they say, this is where things get tricky. Lynch drop a giant anvil on the narrative skull of his film, sending us into a grainy labyrinth of dark hallways and unseemly-lighted households. Among other things, there are constant queries into whether Nikki and Sue are separate entities, an eccentric woman who wants to kill Nikki for no real reason and a twice revisited interrogation scene. Oh, and then there's the nuclear family with rabbit heads (voiced by Naomi Watts and Scott Coffey), the strippers/porn stars doing a choreographed dance to "The Locomotion" and Kingsley's assistant (Harry Dean Stanton) who is constantly looking for spare change.

When approaching a Lynch film, with the exception of The Straight Story, you always prepare yourself for a tumultuous experience; this time he's really lost his bananas, and the grapefruits aren't looking too ripe either. Lynch has always kept a sort of concentration on his closed-lid fantasies, allowing them to play out, but within a certain outline that gives them a sense of purpose and mortality. Inland Empire has no such constructs nor does it seem to want to be viewed as anything but a lengthy blast of unending madness.

His newfound affinity for digital camerawork seems to be another focal point in this living migraine (Lynch himself announced that he will never return to film). Obsession with image can be diagnosed as the core, rotten element in Lynch's monstrosity; the dirty, dark digital work gives ugly a new definition. Sending his most trusted lieutenant, Dern, into this battlefield shows extreme faith, but Dern's performance can't breathe in such muddy waters. Lynch-heads will more than likely still enjoy, if not love, Inland's dystopic reverie, and maybe there's good reason to enjoy such defiance of convention, even if it seems like a never-ending trek down a murky hallway. Put it this way: Inland Empire defines the term "love it or hate it." You got two guesses as to where my feelings lie.

Hey Dave, turn on the lights!



Inland Empire

Facts and Figures

Run time: 180 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 7th February 2007

Box Office Worldwide: $849.1 thousand

Distributed by: Absurda Inc.

Production compaines: Studio Canal, Fundacja Kultury, Camerimage Festival, Absurda, Asymmetrical Productions, Inland Empire Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Fresh: 75 Rotten: 29

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Nikki Grace/Susan Blue, as Kingsley Stewart, as Devon Berk/Billy Side, as Freddie Howard, Peter J. Lucas as Piotrek Krol, as Marilyn Levens, as Doris Side, as Henry the Butler, as Producer, William H. Macy as Announcer, Stanislaw Kazimierz Cybulski as Mr. Zydowicz, Henryka Cybulski as Mrs. Zydowicz, Robert Charles Hunter as Detective Hutchinson

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.