It’s been a while since i talked about it, but having recently received the DVD and had the chance for a re-watch, i need to recommend David Lynch’s latest masterpiece INLAND EMPIRE, again.
Completely self-produced by Lynch, INLAND EMPIRE (yes, that’s all-caps) received far too little exposure on the big screen — here in Germany even in Berlin only a few off-theatres showed it for a couple of weeks and i only had the chance to see it once, this past April — and from what i gather, the fate was similar in the U.S. and elsewhere around the globe.
Is INLAND EMPIRE for everyone? I guess not, no. It’s 3 hours long. It’s shot mostly (entirely?) on DV hand camera. And even after having seen it twice, there’s no clearly discernible plot, just yet (current reasoning on the IMBb is that you need 3-4 watches to appreciate it, and 5 or more to “get” it). It’s no pop-corn cinema, so if you’re out for some relaxation and brainless entertainment (which isn’t always bad), then by all means, go watch Transformers, instead. But if you’re up for something different that will keep you thinking for a while, sit back and give INLAND EMPIRE a chance.
Subtitled “A Woman in Trouble”, one could say INLAND EMPIRE continues where MULHOLLAND DR. left off, again revisiting the darker side of the dream machine that is Hollywood, following an aging actress (excellently portrayed by Lynch-regular Lara Dern) who literally gets lost inside the plot of her latest project. If you thought MULHOLLAND DR. was confusing and incomprehensible, think again as INLAND EMPIRE introduces you to a whole new level and will make MD look like childs-play in comparison. If on the other hand you loved the dark atmosphere projected by MULHOLLAND DR., the threatening soundscapes and odd characters, you will love INLAND EMPIRE.
INLAND EMPIRE also stars the always amazing Grace Zabriesky in what probably is her eeriest role to date (“brutal focking murder”), as well as almost the entire main cast from MD (Justin Theroux, Naomi Watts and Laura Harring, the last two never actually seen on screen without Rabbit masks until the end credits roll), Harry Dead Stanton and a brief cameo by William H. Macy.
Also available now, finally, is the official soundtrack/score for INLAND EMPIRE, which has Lynch parting with his regular collaborator Angelo Badalamenti (responsible for virtually all relevant Lynch scores) and instead features several tracks of Lynch’s own composing, including the eerie “Ghost of Love” and the amazing “Polish Poem”, which instantly reminds us of Twin Peaks and Lynch’s work with Julie Cruise that was was heavily featured in that show.