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As an actress starts to adopt the persona of her character in a film, her world starts to become nightmarish and surreal.
Release Year: 2006
Rating: 6.9/10 (25,836 voted)
Critic's Score: 72/100
Stars: Laura Dern, Jeremy Irons, Justin Theroux
Storyline A blonde actress is preparing for her biggest role yet, but when she finds herself falling for her co-star, she realizes that her life is beginning to mimic the fictional film that they're shooting. Adding to her confusion is the revelation that the current film is a remake of a doomed Polish production, 47, which was never finished due to an unspeakable tragedy.
Cast: Laura Dern
(as Jan Hench)
Henry the Butler
Peter J. Lucas
Harry Dean Stanton
Devon Berk's Manager
Devon Berk's Agent
Filming Locations: Avalon Hollywood - 1735 Vine Street, Los Angeles, California, USA
Opening Weekend: $27,508
(10 December 2006)
(Camerimage Film Fest)
Did You Know?
During a conversation between David Lynch and Laura Dern, Dern mentioned that her husband was from the Inland Empire (an area east of Los Angeles County, including Riverside and San Bernadino County). Lynch confesses he stopped listening to what she was saying because he loved the sound of the words "Inland Empire", and finally decided on these words as the title of his movie because "I like the word inland. And I like the word empire."
Are you enjoying yourself, Freddie? Freddie Howard:
Well... There is a vast network, right? An ocean of possibilities. I like dogs. I used to raise rabbits. I've always loved animals. Their nature. How they think. I have seen dogs reason their way out of problems. Watched them think through the trickiest situations. Do you have a couple of bucks I could borrow? I've got this damn landlord.
The film Lynch has been working towards all his career
I just saw this film at the New York Film Festival followed by a Q & A
session with David Lynch, Laura Dern, and Justin Theroux. I will try my
best to recount my thoughts while they are fresh, and incorporate what
the film maker and actors had to say.
"I can't tell if it's yesterday or tomorrow and it's a real mind f---"
This single quote from Laura Dern sums the movie up fairly well. It is
also one of the self- referential moments of the film that explores the
audiences very thoughts while providing some comic relief.
Lynch's new film, INLAND EMPIRE, is similar to his other work, but
unlike anything he's ever done, or I've ever seen before. As one
reviewer aptly put it, it is a double reference to Hollywood and the
inner workings of the human brain. Before I discuss the substance of
the film I will briefly review the technical aspects.
First of all, the movie is not unwatchable (because of clarity
purposes) as some critics had said, although I did see it at the
Lincoln Center which has a beautiful theater and top quality
facilities. The digital camera works well for this film. It lose some
of the cinematic flourish of film, but also brings a more realistic,
gritty feel to it that is appropriate for the theme. The lighting and
production were top quality as usual for a Lynch film and the score
sets every scene brilliantly. Often times we can't tell if the sound is
diegetic or non-diegetic, but it makes no difference.
Lynch said that he used the digital camera to give him freedom. You can
see much more movement in this film than his others, giving an almost
voyeuristic feel. He also uses many close shots, and as always, obscure
framing allowing ambiguity and confusion. Lynch really explores the
freedom of movement and editing that is available with digital, and you
can feel his energy and zest in the new medium. The moments of suspense
and terror are so well done - there are several scenes that will
literally make you jump - that I found a Hitcockian brilliance of using
subtlety, indirectness, and sound to convey emotion rather than
expensive special effects. Of course, there are other scenes that would
qualify as downright freaky.
The movie is completely carried by Laura Dern, and not because she is
in 90-95% of the scenes. Her character(s) morph and change so often in
identity and time that it is hard to believe it is her in every role.
Her range and ability to work consistently over so many years and under
the conditions of this film is mind blowing. It is one of the finest
performances I've seen by an actress or actor.
The film itself is hard to summarize. Most of you know the basic plot,
but this really means nothing about the film. It has no type of linear
story line and the converging and diverging plot lines are connected by
only the most simple threads, time, location, memory ("Do I look
familiar? Have you seen me before?") identity, and people who are good
with animals. It would be a disservice to this film to try to find
meaning or symbolism as I see some people already are. It is not a
mystery to be solved, as Mulholland Dr. was (though that film never
will be solved either). It is a movie that plays off of ideas, color,
mood, it presents intangible emotions that we feel and internalize
rather than think about and solve. Film doesn't need a solution to make
sense, but it is typical for us to want solve things, to have closure.
This film is better if you just let it wash over you and surrender the
urge to find meaning.
The three hour running time makes no difference because the movie moves
in and out of itself with no regard for time. Using so many scenes
allows time to effect the viewer much as the characters themselves. As
the characters question time and reality, the audience does too. As the
scenes slowly build up, giving us reference, we start to wonder where
we saw that character, who said that line before, what location fits
into what part of the sequence and how, leading up to the Laura Dern
quote I used before. It doesn't ask us to think, but to feel, and it
does this better than any film I've seen. It plays on our emotions with
intense sound and cinematography, grasping fragments from dreams,
sliding in and out of reality, exploring nightmares, and asking us what
time and reality really are. The film is also very self-conscious as I
said before, and also makes many subtle (and not so) pokes at the
audience. It also has some truly surreal moments of Lynch humor.
Explaining all this doesn't really matter because you will have to see
it and take your own idea from it. I would recommend that you see it in
a theater though, as it could never have the same impact anywhere else.
I was skeptical going into this movie after what I had read, thinking
Lynch had gone off the deep end. However, I realized nothing you read
about it will make a difference once you see it, and that Lynch is in
better form than ever. Ebert said that Mulholland Dr. was the one
experiment where Lynch didn't break the test-tube. With INLAND EMPIRE
he throws the lab equipment out the window. His freedom in making this
movie, both with medium and artistic control, is unparalleled in
anything he's done. He finally made a movie for himself and his vision,
without any kind of apology or pretense.