Critiques and comments

Inland Empire (2006)

Inland Empire
The picture is more an experience, a conveyor belt of half-conceived ideas and half-formed emotions, than the type of movie we're used to seeing, even with Lynch's films. Similar to the director's other films, "dream logic" is what the film is based on, and intuition is your best tool to guide yourself through it. It has a meaningful plot, but it doesn't sacrifice the atmosphere to make it clear, not in the slightest. Consequently, it is one of the most consuming and complete cinematic experiences that I've ever had.

Now, whether Lynch is appetising or gives you indigestion is a matter wholly of personal taste, I think. A lot of Inland Empire is downright bizarre and verges on whimsical most of the time, which some viewers see as pretentious. Lynch showed relatively little restraint with this film, so it makes even Mulholland Dr. seem like a rigidly structured film. Some of the dialogue is extremely well written, but a lot of it is simply stream of consciousness word-painting, which is not surprisingly haphazard and inherently messy.

"Inland Empire is about the effects of movies themselves - the way they change us, inform our goals, and impact our self-image", says Mark Palermo, a film critic. This happens to be a very succinct illustration of what the movie seems to present. The somewhat demanding three-hour length of the film and its nightmarish, cryptic nature makes Inland Empire not a film to watch for relaxation or when you're not up to it. Lynch presents you a few clues, instructions of a sort, to how you should watch the movie right at the start. If you are able to get in sync with the movie, you'll be in for a very direct and lucid experience, otherwise you'll have a really bad three hours.

It's definitely vague, and it has its failures. Inland Empire might not work for you for its entirety, but the base problem in that case is that you don't think in the same way as the director, and by nature this film is a personal thing. Are there unnecessary scenes? Maybe. Is anything you see in the movie worthy of making a movie about it? Maybe. There are no real answers with Inland Empire because Inland Empire is in one way an exploration into cinema itself and its significance, better said, relevance. In the other direction, it is an intuitive, dreamy story that amazes, shocks, horrifies and captivates like any other film.

I certainly find that even with the close-up filming of actors' faces (which is strange, unpleasant, and not very film-like), the has-to-be-intentionally ugly artificial lighting, the typical Lynch motives of a big cold city that no one seems to be running, and that is the complete opposite of enjoyable to see on film, much less live in - even with all these things, it manages to gain the love of a set of viewers.

In order to see Inland Empire for what it is, first you have to accept the way in which it is made. You have to accept that no coherent plot will greet you in this film, but you will get a taste of the idea behind it if you don't attack it with your logical reasoning. If you detach yourself from the conventional idea of what a film looks like, then you can see it through and make your mind up about whether you like it or not. Even if you end up not liking it, you will see that it is an outstanding film, a very memorable (for good or bad) experience which is very different from anything else you have seen.

Rating: 5.0 / 5
Posted at: Sep 04, 2012 @ 14:58:57
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