Inland Empire (2006)
Reviewed on 2008 September 14
This is something like Mulholland Drive, but even screwier. The ending is incongruous and even Mr. Shukti, who got Mulholland Drive, was a little perplexed by this. It’s kind of a shame, because the concept had me psyched. It’s still worth a viewing.
After a beginning that seems to float out of nowhere (but don’t worry, Lynch never drops a plot thread; he just picks it up and ties a sheepshank in it later), the story really starts rolling. Nikki Grace (Laura Dern) is an actress trying to make a comeback, but it looks like there’s going to be a string attached. A crazy neighbor (Grace Zabriskie) arrives, warning her that she’ll get a part she covets, but at a price. The woman is nuts, rolling her eyes like a horse and croaking about “ee-vil”, but she may be right about this. Nikki’s vehicle is supposedly based on a Polish production that never got finished. The story goes that the thing was cursed by gypsies and the leads died.
Since we saw the mansion Nikki lives in you can see why a fat check would swing more weight than an alleged Rom curse, but things start to unravel pretty quickly for her. She seems to be losing her grip on reality, strange things are happening at the studio, and she seems to move back and forth between times and locations. The question is what is really happening, and what is she hallucinating?
And since it’s Lynch, does it matter? Since this is one of his “babies” — I’m sure that’s how the guy thinks of his stuff — we get lots of what I think can only be described as PeyoteScope. Distorted visuals. Sound that makes your teeth rattle. Gypsy curses. Buñuel bunny theater. Too bad it didn’t seem to go anywhere, but it was entertaining, and it was somewhat beautiful, even when it was gruesome.
Two chocolate morsels and any drink or snack that changes color in mood lighting.