INLAND EMPIRE * David Lynch * 2007

Watching a David Lynch film is like listening to a power-electronics album. It is not for most people, because most people will be looking for melodies, lyrics and a feel-good atmosphere, rather than oppressive darkness, chaos and violence. The same goes for a film such as INLAND EMPIRE. Film critics have been looking for logic, a story, a nice atmosphere and a happy end, but they have found none of that and therefor slay this film to the ground. What INLAND EMPIRE brings you is a very ‘industrial’ opening, weird characters, strange filming, absurd dialogues, scenes that (apparently) have nothing to do with eachother, a story that is ‘incorrect’ and confusing (actually there seems to be a multitude of ‘stories’) and most of all: extremely dark scenes, eruptions of violence and disturbing images. Indeed, Lynch-fans can be reassured, INLAND EMPIRE is in the style of Lost Highway and Mullholland Drive. In a way, it continues the ‘path’ where the other two point to.Where Lost Highway had two stories (and ‘unconnected scenes’) and Mullholland Drive several, INLAND EMPIRE seems just a collection of short films rather than a film. It has elements of the sitcom “Rabbits” (that I haven’t seen), hallucinative scenes, typical ‘Lynchial’ close-ups with industrial background music, different stories that somehow seem to form a red line, but maybe that is not the case at all. You guessed it: I am not going to tell you a story, I will not going to analyze the different elements. The biggest mistake you can make with a film such as this, is to approach it rationally. Somehow everything has its place. Like the electronic noise terror of a power electronics release, the artist has carefully put it together, undoubtely with an idea, but if the artist leaves out an ‘explanation’, all you can do is undergo it and enjoy the atmosphere. Somehow I like one power-electronics release, but another not. In film there isn’t such a variety, there is Lynch and a few other ‘weird directors’ that don’t care about how things are supposed to be. I happen to like Lynch. His films are impressive and because they cannot be understood, I can watch them over and over again, like I can listen to music over and over again. Maybe a final note for Lynch-likers like myself: Lost Highway is magnificent, Mullholland Drive is very good, INLAND EMPIRE is good, but it seems like Lynch is trying to be weirder and weirder which makes it more and more difficult to ‘get into’. Of course I have only seen INLAND EMPIRE once now, but at the moment it seems that with Lost Highway Lynch has reached his peak for me and now it is slowly (and I say “slowly”) going down. No worries, because INLAND EMPIRE still is a film that you have to see if you can stand a film like this and I adivise you to see it on the big screen, even when it only plays in a few cinemas. A last thing about the camera work, as you know Lynch shot the film with digital handycames (that he partially handled himself!), this is sometimes irritating (shaky images, not too good quality), sometimes fitting. Concider it as a typical David Lynch experiment and don’t worry about it.

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