Things get weird at this point, and I’ll leave it up to you (if you haven’t seen the movie before, really), in part to keep the surprises out. But no simple review can hope to explore all the seemingly inexplicable plot points and thematic elements in sufficient detail—it would take an entire book (and there are several, including a recent monograph by critic Melissa Anderson). Even so, you can only scratch the surface of what Lynch has to offer here. I admit that when I first saw the film at a press screening in 2006, I liked it enough but didn’t fully remember it. I watched it again a month or so later and for some reason it hooked me the second time. At the moment, I would rank it next to Eraserhead, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, and Mulholland Drive as one of Lynch’s best works, even if I can’t explain why I love him so much. as I love. . The film is so filled with imagery, ideas, and sheer boldness that you might think the only thing missing is Nastassja Kinski sitting mysteriously on a couch as a group of women lip-synch and dance to Nina Simone’s The Sinner. On a completely unrelated note, be sure to stay through the closing credits.
Like previous films in Lynch’s so-called LA trilogy, Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive, concepts like time, space, and identity are erased in Inland Empire to the point where the characters suddenly become different people. , places. and time frames change with the same abruptness, and the City of Dreams becomes an endless night from which it seems impossible to wake up. In the earlier films, the gap between the dream and the real world is quite sharp and fast, though perhaps only in retrospect. Here, Lynch blurs the line separating them almost from the start, both figuratively and literally. The latter stems from his decision to shoot the film on digital video, giving it a visual style that is both familiar and oddly bewildering that leaves you constantly trying to get your bearings.
The problem is that while this stylistic approach results in a lot of haunting and unnerving visual moments, in 2006 it made the film something of a tedious three-full hour watch, and while the subsequent DVD released by Lynch allegedly contained a -modern at the time, it certainly didn’t stand the test of time. For this re-release, Lynch and Janus Films took Inland Empire through a long and detailed process of remastering the audio and visual components (Lynch also did the film’s terrible sound design) to arrive at the new 4K transfer. While very little improvement can be made to the original material, it looks as good as ever. When this version of Inland Empire comes out on Blu-ray (presumably through Criterion, who have already done a brilliant job on a number of Lynch films), it should sound pretty good.