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INLAND EMPIRE

Director: DAVID LYNCH

U.S.A. • 2006 • COLOUR DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 179 MIN


Shot with a $3,000 video camera, this three-hour opus is a compendium of Lynchian obsessions and motifs.

In her Hollywood mansion, fading star Nikki Grace (Laura Dern) receives a surprise visit from a new neighbour (Grace Zabriskie). In a strong Eastern European accent, her visitor intimates: ‘I hear you have a new role to play.’ Echoing the Naomi Watts character in ‘Mulholland Dr.’, Nikki does indeed land the lead in ‘On High in Blue Tomorrows’—a remake of an ill-fated Polish project which was never completed because the leading man and leading lady were both murdered. During a preliminary read-through, fiction and reality immediately coalesce, as the events in the script—involving a film star, her handsome male co-star and her violently jealous husband—bleed into real life.

Once again, Lynch exposes the dark, terrifying forces which seethe and fester beneath the calm, slightly kitsch surface of ‘normal’ life. Like Alice passing through the looking glass, Nikki slips through the red velvet curtains into a film noir-inflected world of seedy motel rooms, neon light and sadistic men. Meanwhile, a crying woman watches a black and white TV set, scantily-clad prostitutes dance to Little Eva’s ‘The Locomotion’, and a rabbit in a pink dressing gown irons clothes. To quote Helene Kelmachter, curator of the current Paris exhibition of Lynch’s paintings: ‘There is a strange, worrisome atmosphere, a feeling that he is inviting viewers to wander inside and get lost.’ But with so much that feels disturbingly familiar, some will feel that it’s Lynch who may have lost the plot. See it and decide for yourself.—Nigel Floyd.

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