Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Non-linear, Abstract Dagger

If you like films to progress in linear order, you will not like this one.

If you like films delivering small, cohesive story lines in black and white clarity, you will not like this one.

If you didn't like Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Lost Highway or Mulholland Drive, well, this one is also not for you.

I like non-linear and abstract, so I guess I will always be a fan of David Lynch. I was very impressed with his most recent offering. To me, this is his best work yet, and I mean by an order of magnitude.

Some advice for Lynch novices - focus less on trying to figure things out and more on letting the whole film wash over you. With a running time of 3 hours, you'll probably want to practice beforehand :) Lynch is tricky-clever using his quirky techniques in perspective, framing, lighting and yanking the best facial expressions out of his actors to make you feel unprocessed emotion.

Inland Empire's plot, and I use that term loosely, is about an aging, slightly neurotic actress who has just landed the lead role in a film. After filming begins she learns that its a remake of a Polish film called "47". She also learns that "47" was never completed since the two leads were murdered before filming ended. Early on the lines start to blur between the actress, the character she is playing and the Polish actress who starred in the original, unfinished production. The blurring reaches a level of dark, disturbing madness that is trademark Lynch. What is unusual is that at the end of the 3 hours, I felt happy, I felt things had been resolved and everything would work out.

My spin on this film is that Lynch was plunging a lovely, glistening dagger into the back of Hollywood. Not only does he make the Hollywood production characters in the film seem inept and incapable of original thought, he also portrays the actors in the film as empty, fragile vessels when there is no role to play.

Laura Dern as Nikki and Susan

While the other actors, Jeremy Irons and Justin Theroux, were good, this whole film is carried by Laura Dern. IMHO, she deserves two awards, "best actress" for the role of Nikki, the actress in this film and "best supporting actress" for Susan, the character she assumes in the remake of "47". Dern will not receive either, this is not a mainstream production reaching a wide enough audience. Still, she was brilliant and I hope you get a chance to see her performance.

Inland Empire

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Blogger suzy said...

I love your movie reviews. I will have to put this one on my list to movies to see! Thank you

9:53 PM

Blogger Jim said...

Thanks Suzy, hope you enjoy it!

6:20 AM

Blogger john said...

I liked Mullholland Drive!!

11:29 AM

Blogger Jim said...

You'll love this one then John!

8:51 PM

Anonymous Jason said...

Looking forward to watching this one.
I love me some Lynch with some damn hot coffee and a slice of cherry pie on the side.

4:36 PM

Blogger Jim said...

Enjoy Jason. Thats a damn fine David Lynch viewing choice :)

7:02 PM


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