Wednesday night I had the pleasure of viewing David Lynch's newest film, INLAND EMPIRE at the Cinerama. Mr. Lynch was in attendance and fielded questions afterward from effusive fans.

What was my take on the movie?
Well, it should come as no surprise that I enjoyed it thoroughly. I was intimidated by the run-time, but made sure I evacuated my bladder and bowels minutes before the film began. And what it film it is. This is Lynch's first film shot on digital video, and the textures, color and lighting are beautiful. My only issue with the vidoegraphy comes from the handheld bounciness. Other than that, Lynch is able to create images as you know he's always imagined them--blacks so black that you don't realize they're grey until a darker silhouette moves through the frame, highlights so overblown that you can feel your retinas tingle. And his imagery is so stacked and belongs so thoroughly to him--Its hard not to think of
Guild Navigators when all you see of an overlit face with mouth ajar is its uvula. Its hard not to think of Angelo Badalamenti spitting out coffee onto a napkin when Laura Dern is vomiting blood onto the Hollywood walk of fame.
I have said before (and I maintain) that spoilers do not really exist. The art of film (and literature) does not come in the story, but in the telling. A film is not ruined merely because you know that the main character is already dead going into the film. A professor of mine and I had a discussion once about Hitchcock. We got onto the topic of Psycho and he talked about Hitchcock's brilliance for forcing the audience to relate to Norman Bates after Janet Leigh is killed off. I said that I, and most like a majority of my peers, could not watch the film that way. Before we even saw the film, we knew that Norman wore his mother's clothes and killed the guests at the inn. Does that make Psycho any less powerful of a film? I truly don't think so.
If I told you that Laura Dern plays a prostitute, a wife, an actress, and an abuse victim, and that all of them might be roles an actress is playing, or all of them may be different aspects of the same person, you don't really have a context to place that information--but that is really all you know. Lynch gives you everything early on. Themes and situations recur with different tones and moods, and before you know it, the end credits are rolling. The film sits on your subconscious like a firecracker snake lit by a madman, and as it expands, it smolders.
On my Lynch-o-meter, I would put it behind Fire Walk With Me, Mulholland Drive, and Eraserhead but in front of Lost Highway, Blue Velvet, and Wild at Heart.

1 comment:

Thomas said...

another film i want to see. i love watching Laura Dern in pretty much anything she's in.

btw, do you have an interpretation of Eraserhead? it baffles me more than any of Lynch's other films.