Lynchian Empire Strikes Back: An INLAND EMPIRE Review

I knew David Lynch’s next movie was going to be called INLAND EMPIRE, but I didn’t know much about it other than that Laura Dern and Justin Theroux were in it. After seeing the film I still don’t know much more than that. INLAND EMPIRE’s theater release was extremely limited and it finally came out on DVD this week.

Laura Dern

Laura Dern plays Nicki, an actress who thinks she’s about to get the role of a lifetime. She ends up with several lifetimes as reality becomes blurred and she (and you) won’t be sure of what is real or what is fake. This is standard stuff for most of Lynch’s films, but if you thought Mulholland Dr. was difficult to follow consider yourself warned. INLAND EMPIRE is a brutal two hours and fifty two minutes of beautfiul, disturbing, mind altering film (or whatever you want to call it, since Lynch shot the whole thing digitally).

Watching a movie like this is difficult, but I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Laura Dern making it. Her performance is incredible and many times throughout I thought it may be possible that the entire movie was made for her. Not as in INLAND EMPIRE was a present to her, but that most of it will only make sense if you are her. It’s one of about a billion theories you could have about the film.

I loved this quote from the movie’s Wikipedia article:

In an NPR “Weekend Edition” interview, Laura Dern recounted a conversation she had with one of the movie’s new producers. He asked if Lynch was joking when he requested a one-legged woman, a monkey and a lumberjack by 3:15. “Yeah, you’re on a David Lynch movie, dude,” Dern replied. “Sit back and enjoy the ride.” Dern reported that by 4 p.m. they were shooting with the requested individuals.

My verdict: It’s incredible, but only for serious Lynch fans.

Laura Dern and David Lynch


3 responses to “Lynchian Empire Strikes Back: An INLAND EMPIRE Review”

  1. Laura Dern’s performace here is miraculous.

    i enjoy your blog.

  2. Thanks! Miraculous might be the right word to describe it. I said in the post I don’t know how she pulled it off.

  3. I was just watching Holy Mountain. If you like David Lynch, Holy Mountain and El Topo are two to watch. They were just released for the first time commercially in the country. Alexandro Jodorowsky was one of John Lennon’s favorite film makers. And oh yea, he’s most likely insane. In addition, he was also the first guy to try and do a Dune film.