David Lynch's new film, Inland Empire
What can one say about this movie?
I saw it a few weeks ago at the a AFI theater in Silver Spring, Maryland and I felt very inspired and creative when I walked out of the dark theater into the snowy and quiet afternoon. It takes a while for all David Lynch's movies to set in, but this one more so.
It is an incredibly long movie- about 3 hours I believe. David Lynch movies are designed to make you squirm in your seat, but since this one was so long it made you squirm even more. The only negative thing I can say about this movie is that it was so long that it made me conscious of how long it was and towards the end I found myself thinking, "When is this going to be over? I am getting a bit tired of sitting in this chair."
First of all, I have heard rumor that the way he filmed this was different from how he goes about producing his other movies. What he did supposedly, was just got a bunch of actors together and started filming whatever came up with no concrete or particular plan in mind. They did this for THREE YEARS, just filmed what they felt like filming. At the end of that three years, David Lynch somehow put scenes together and made a story out of it. I find that absolutely brilliant. I am a painter, and one thing that I aways strive for is to show the process of painting in the paintings themselves. David Lynch has found a brilliant way of doing that with this movie, by implementing the movie making process backwards. It definitely shows. To me, this is creative genius.
Don't assume that this would make the movie more confusing than his other films. That would be a natural assumption, since most of his movies are very confusing plot wise. And since he created this film in a non linear fashion, it would seem obvious that this would be even more confusing. Quite the contrary, I found this film to be less confusing than his others.
This film was David Lynch in his prime. He is an old man now, and his has finally met his mark. Laura Dern was fascinating. I have a new found respect for her. Whenever I thought of Laura Dern before, I always thought of blockbusters like Jurassic Park. Now though, I admire her brevity and sophisticated charm.
What this movie made me think about most of all, was the classic idea of "The world is a stage." All of his movies get to that on some level or another, but I really felt it on this one. When I took the bus home after seeing it, I stared out the window at the snow and decided that there are two ways to see one's personal world and environment. My life at that moment could be mysterious and horrific (there could be strange things going on out there in the snow- some strange human like creature hiding behind a lamp post- staring at me as I rode by), or it could be calm, peaceful and beautiful. I like both options, to be honest with you. Either one makes life more interesting and reflective. What if one were to live their life this way- by seeing from one of these two perspectives constantly- taking turns between the two? What kind of interesting roads would that take you down?
Another important idea to note is, all of the characters in Inland Empire, at least all of the female characters (there were many) are representations of aspects of the female psyche that resides in each and every female I know, including me. A woman's inner life is complex and fascinating. It would be a shame to reduce women's innards to simplistic and logical emotions like we do in our day to day lives (its much easier that way), because they are much more than that. Always.
Last but not least, symbology. Many would believe that Lynch's bizarre and absurd films are filled with symbolism and people will rack their brains for months trying to figure out what he was trying to get across. However, I do not think Lynch deals in symbolism at all. I think all of these meanderings and train of thoughts he takes us though, are simply that; meanderings and trains of thoughts. They represent themselves, and nothing else. In order to get though Inland Empire, it is important to go with the flow of scenes and plot turns. You just have to let Lynch take you for a ride, and trust that where he is taking you is going to be strange and entertaining- and will leave you with a little bit of a different perspective on life.
The next movie that should be arriving in my mailbox (Netflix) is a Lynch movie I have never seen, called Wild At Heart starring Laura Dern (yay!) and Nicholas Cage. I will let you know how it turns out.