- 90 minutes of Deleted Scenes.
- Includes the short film "Ballerina".
- Lynch 2 (behind the scenes of INLAND EMPIRE with David Lynch).
- Talks with David Lynch and Laura Dern.
- More Things That Happened (Additional Character Experiences).
- Theatrical Trailers (3).
- Stills Gallery (73 Photos).
- David Lynch cooks Quinoa.
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A magikael, fairy dusted ride through the darkest realms of our collective imaginations. Terrifying!
Though Inland Empire's three hours of befuddling abstraction could try the patience of the most devoted David Lynch fan, its aim to reinvigorate the Lynch-ian symbolic order is ambitious, not to mention visually arresting. The director's archetypes recognizable from previous movies once again construct the film's inherent logic, but with a new twist. Sets vibrate between the contemporary and a 1950s alternate universe crammed with dim lamps, long hallways, mysterious doors, sparsely furnished rooms and, this time, a vortex/apartment/sitcom set where rabbit-masked humans dwell, and a Polish town where women are abused and killed. Instead of speaking backwards, mystic soothsayers and criminals speak Polish. Filmed on video, the film's look has the sinister, frightening feel of a Mark Savage film or a bootlegged snuff movie. Constant close-ups, both in and out of focus, make Inland Empire feel as if a stalker covertly filmed it. A straightforward, hokey plot unravels during the first third of Inland Empire to ground the viewer before a dive off the deep end. Actor Nikki Grace (Laura Dern) is cast as Susan Blue, an adulterous white trash Southerner, in a film that mimics too closely her actual life with an overbearingly jealous and dangerous husband. When Nikki and co-star Devon (Justin Theroux) learn that the cursed film project was earlier abandoned when its stars were murdered, the pair lose their grasp of reality. Nikki suffers a schizophrenic identity switch to Sue that lasts until nearly the film's end. Suspense builds as Nikki's alter ego sleuths her way through surreal situations to discover her killer, culminating in Sue's gnarly death on set. Sue's actions drag on because any sign of a narrative thread disappears due to idiosyncratic editing. Nonsensical scenes still captivate, however, such as when Sue stumbles onto the soundstage where she finds Nikki (herself) rehearsing for Sue's part. In this meta-film about identity slippage, Dern's multiple characters remind one of how a victim can become the hunter in their fight for survival. Lynch's portrayal of Nikki/Sue's increasing paranoia is, in its own confusion, utterly realistic. Laura Dern has created her own Lady Macbeth, undone by her guilt over infidelity. Even though Inland Empire is too long and too random, Laura Dern's performance coupled with Lynch's video experiments make it magical. --Trinie Dalton
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Stills from Inland Empire (click for larger image)
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Top Customer Reviews
The movie is difficult to explain in terms of plot-- something I find myself saying in a lot of the reviews I write for the things I like, but this one takes the cake in terms of movies. Let me try to put it as simply as possible: It's about an actress who gets sucked inside a movie she's working on, becoming the character she plays-- I know a lot of my fellow David Lynch fans are going to come down on me for this and I know that's not a completely accurate description but I'm writing this for the Lynch layman so please bear with me. Laura Dern plays an actress who is working on a movie which is being directed by a prestigious Hollywood director played by Jeremey Irons who reveals to her that their movie is actually a remake of a cursed Polish movie that was never completed due to mysterious and murderous circumstances. This information makes her and her fellow actors uneasy, and almost without warning, her whole world is unmade right before her eyes. That's about as specific as I can get without whipping out a flowchart and some diagrams.
The point is, "Inland Empire" is David Lynch taking on the world, particularly Hollywood. This film is the third part of what's sometimes called the "L.A. trilogy," or "the Hollywood trilogy," the other two films being "Lost Highway" and "Mulholland Drive." But "Inland Empire" marks a major departure for Lynch, the use of digital filming techniques and the complete absence of absolutely any outside interference from executives. This is Lynch, unbound. There are no rules anymore, nobody in a striped suit with a cigar breathing down his neck saying "Davey, boy, ya need to get Lady Gaga in this picture," or something similar. What we've got here is a director who knows he's about to take an extended hiatus and right before doing so he carefully pieces together a movie that will keep people talking for years. Even now, almost a decade after its release, even the most dedicated David Lynch fans are still struggling to understand what this film means.
It goes from being doom and gloom, to curiosity, to horror, romance, horror again, it culminates in an insane climax one has to see to believe and provides a beautiful and thoughtful ending for everyone who is familiar with the director's work. The rest of the movie is almost swept aside as the journey when the destination is revealed, and it's everything David Lynch has ever been a part of, everything he's ever loved coming together for a spectacle unlike anything seen in any of his prior films. In a way, I feel the "Hollywood Trilogy" is Lynch's way of exorcising the despair he felt over "Dune," a movie which he said "he had divorces more satisfying" than. In the end, the whys and the hows aren't so important as how you feel when the film is done. And I felt good.
The first disk of the DVD set is the movie, the second disk contains several oddball features as have come expected when associated with the director's work. I know the DVD set itself was made with three or four different covers, the one I got is blue and has an image of two faces on it and at the bottom says "2-Disk Special Edition."
The movie fast-forwards to the next day as the woman foretells in the narration. The gypsy fades out with a vengeance. Nikki gets the part, and on the set we meet Devon (Justin Theroux), her dashing, handsome co-star. The director (Jeremy Irons) facilitates a script reading where he relates that the film is indeed a remake; one where a murder took place and was allegedly cursed from the start.
From here the movie weaves its way through many scenes. Nikki's husband warns the young co-star of the consequences of sneaking out with his actress wife. Some feature Southern characters Billy and Sue in the movie, but they are so closely connected to their actual lives that we begin to lose our own grip on reality. Eerily suspenseful scenes show (Nikki or Sue) walking through a house in bewildered trepidation. Then, we are transported to the lives of the screen couple in the backyard. Next, we find them in Poland during the dead of winter. In one scene the actors are having an affair; in another the characters are. To spice things up, we get a play with actors in rabbit costumes performing an absurdist comedy. At certain points, just when we feel grounded, a woman is watching all the drama on television in her dark apartment.
The developments of `Inland Empire' are intriguing. Like `French Lieutenant's Woman' (significantly also with Jeremy Irons) there's a movie story mixed within a real story. Unlike `FLW' it isn't easy to tell where one story ends and the other begins. In ways like Altman's `The Player,' we have to decide what components are real and which are not. One finds oneself asking many questions while watching the movie. Which parts are from the movie? Which parts are real life? Are the scenes in Poland real or are they components of the original film? Is this all seen through a viewer's eyes or is it all part of the movie? Is she crazy or is her character crazy? Surely, the theme of misogyny is at the forefront as we come across prostitutes and male abuse. Not to mention the claustrophobic fishbowl existence of celebrity life. One thing is for certain, the movie is assembled expertly. It comes across like a mansion full of mirrors--like a fun/haunted house. Not everyone will like the exit strategy (Afterall, who likes hitting the pavement after a funhouse?) but it certainly provides a strange and intense experience.