Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Inland Empire: Lost in Lynchland

Laura/Nikki/Sue ponders over...

...cryptic messages on the wall...

...before diving down the rabbit hole into wonderland.

The film actor Nikki (Laura Dern) gets the leading part playing against Devon (Justin Theroux) in a story about infidelity. When Nikki and Devon, just like their characters Sue and Billy are attracted to each other, Nikki warns Devon about her jealous husband but interrupts herself with "Damn, this sounds just like our script!". In that moment you hear the director's voice, "Cut! What is going on?" and you are bounced right back to the set in the studio, startling not only the viewer but also Nikki and Devon. From there David Lynch's "Inland Empire" (2006) dives down into the rabbit hole where the dreamlike story's loose threads spins off on a tangent and makes you feel lost, only to reconnect with the other threads into a braid of parallel stories, disregarding time and space in a way that left me gasping. What is real? Who is sneaking around in background of the set? And where does the traveling circus fit in?

Sitcom according to David Lynch, complete with an out of sync laugh track.

David Lynch used this "story feeding back into itself"-effect to some degree in "Mulholland Drive" (2001) but in "Inland Empire" he cranked it up all the way to "eleven", making it confusing but effective. Laura Dern's portrayal of her multiple characters is easily one of the best performances I've seen in a long time, unfortunately I think the likelihood of the Oscar's committee taking notice is slim.

The ketchup effect. ;)

This film is fairly hard to watch with its non-linear story, and I can only think of a few persons that I without hesitation could recommend it to, but for me this film, on a scale from one to ten, goes to eleven. Lynch's best, not easiest, so far! That this film gets (relative) wide distribution, although it hanged by a thread in Sweden after Triangelfilms bankruptcy, is nothing less than astonishing. It is as if the tray sheets at McDonalds all of a sudden would be made by Salvador Dali.

(Listening to while posting: Keith Jarret - Over the rainbow)


PP said...

I have liked Laura Dern in just about every thing I have ever seen her in... Not so hot on D Lynch however. Maybe we should try this one LS...

LS said...

Mulholland Drive - I remember that movie, it was great. This I am not so sure about, but maybe it is worth testing. I rather not feel like my head went through a hot dryer after a movie (tumble, tumble), and it sounds like this could happen with this one. More movie reviews, they are fun!!! I love to read about your thoughts, O.K.

O.K. said...

This one is a mind bender, but I didn't write about it to discourage anyone to see it. Quite the opposite! So I say like Dr Seuss:

"You do not like them, so you say? Try them, try them and you may. Try them and you may I say!"