Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Inland Empire (David Lynch, 2006)

****
USA



David Lynch introduces you to another peppy Hollywood starlet familiarly mixing an illicit romance with a Hollywood project shrouded in intrigue and Eastern European curses. Then he has his characteristically seedy avant-garde conceptual epic do all those phrases people use to describe films they can’t get a grasp on: obliterating conventions, overthrowing narrative, fragmenting, bifurcating, refracting upon itself, embracing dream logic, temporal what-not etc.

So yes, first and foremost, this three-hour cryptic-ominous sensory offensive is an unwieldy thing – exhilaratingly so for at least one full hour, before it starts veering back and forth between visceral absorbing horror and commendable experimentation falling embarrassingly flat (often due to crude miscasting). At all times however, it offers you the singular, enthralling experience of watching Laura Dern hit notes of astonishing force and rawness and clarity in phenomenally dodgy mini-DV resolution.

It’s hard to conclude on Lynch’s ultimate and core point, but it may very well have something to do with how assembling a glamourous identity (the prime Western commodity?) is only half-living, and how you must not only shed (and asphyxiate and disembowel and pulverise) this identity but embrace and transcend the absolute nadir of human experience (Hollywood Boulevard whoredom, some more disembowelling, oblivion) if you are to rise to a state of completeness and really live. So, all in all, proceed with caution, but by all means, proceed.

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