The discovery of a severed human ear found in a field leads a young man on an investigation related to a beautiful, mysterious nightclub singer and a group of psychopathic criminals who have kidnapped her child.
After a car wreck on the winding Mulholland Drive renders a woman amnesiac, she and a perky Hollywood-hopeful search for clues and answers across Los Angeles in a twisting venture beyond dreams and reality.
A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous facade, there is revealed a person of intelligence and sensitivity.
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. Written by
At least it could have been worse ... but only if it had lasted even more than 3 hours ;-).
Let me get a few things out of the way first: I am a great admirer of David Lynch's early work, up to and including Lost Highway. I like movies that are not straightforward, that make you think and that leave space for your imagination and interpretation. And I consider myself to be open-minded and willing to wander off the beaten track ...
Having covered this, I must say that this was one of the rare occasions where I was dying for the movie to (finally) end - I left the theater thinking "what the f***?" and quite honestly if I had to put a headline to the whole thing I would call it intellectual masturbation.
Maybe Lynch is just having a laugh, viewing Inland Empire as an experiment to see how far he can go with audiences - or it is a revolutionary new concept in cinema where the director just supervises shooting and the audience explains what this is about in forums like this.
One of my spontaneous thoughts after watching this was: had this been the debut film of a rookie director fresh out of film school, my guess would be that he/she would be continuing his/her career making movies at children's birthday parties or silver wedding anniversaries.
Then on the other hand, maybe I belong to the minority of dim-wits who just don't get it - I can not rule this out. However, looking at the majority of raving reviews here, there is one thing that I would really like to find out: how many of those reviews are based on a genuine appreciation of the movie, and how many were written because it's just so en vogue to celebrate Lynch films and you better not admit that you came out of the theater thinking "geez - I didn't get it ..."
I would love to do an experiment: show 3 hours of CCTV or traffic cam material, taken randomly from a department store, office building or a traffic light on a deserted road, and add some opening titles stating "Directed by David Lynch" - my bet would be this film would earn an average vote of 7.8 here and lots of interpretations/explanations, all starting with the statement how great the lack of narrative helps the deeper meaning of the movie.
But maybe this finally is the ultimate Alan Smithee film - and I must admit that it left a deep impression in urging me to write this long comment ;-)
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