I don't claim to be a huge David Lynch fan. I've really enjoyed some of his films; Elephant Man, Wild at Heart and Blue Velvet in particular. I remember seeing Lost Highway in the theater about 10 years ago, when I was really starting to get into cinema, and I was absolutely loving the film, the style and the weirdness was perfect, until it came to the very end and the film left no explanation for what had just happened. I felt betrayed. I'd never seen a film where there wasn't a wrap-up of sorts. I don't think I've seen it since, but I vividly remember many scenes from the film, which is a testament to his filmmaking abilities. It's about time for a re-watch.
I saw Mulholland Dr. a few years later and even though it was a stranger film than Lost Highway, making even less sense, I came out of there loving it, because I understood Lynch's work better and could appreciate abstract cinema more.
Going into Inland Empire I knew it would be a challenge to make it through. Three hours of any film is a long time, you've really got to earn it to make a film that long. Three hours of David Lynch shooting on DV was going to be even tougher.
I sat through the first 10 minutes with my jaw dropped in disbelief. There were people with blurred heads talking about god-knows-what, a scary looking couple speaking in Polish I think, then a weird sitcom-like-show with people sitting around in giant rabbit head's while a laugh-track goes off in the background. Finally we get to Laura Dern's character and it started to make a little bit of sense.
She's an actress, whose gotten a role in a film with a strange history. Apparently, they tried to make it before, but both the lead actors died before it could be finished. Justin Theroux is Dern's costar, he's notorious for hooking up with the actresses he works with. Dern's husband, warns him that he'll kill him if they sleep together. Which of course they do. I was starting to get into the film, it was definitely Lynch, but I could make sense of it and the story was starting to intrigue me.
But then about 80 minutes into the film it started to get weird again. I had no clue who anybody was, or what the hell they were talking about. There was some cool imagery, but you couldn't piece it together in any logical way. That's when I started fast-forwarding through the film, I knew I couldn't put up with it for another two hours. And it made about as much sense in fast-motion as it did at normal speed. I kept hoping it would go back to the story that I was getting into, but from what I could tell it never really did.
Only David Lynch could get me to write this much, without even sitting through his whole film. He's an extremely unique talent. Way out there beyond anybody else's work that I've seen. I'm sure there are some film artists, working on the fringes, that begin to match his weirdness, but they don't get distribution.
I'll be there for his next film, but I hope it's more along the lines of Mulholland Dr. or Blue Velvet, weird, but not completely illogical.