* Review of “Inland Empire” (2006)


Yikes! That image scares us but frankly we don’t think David Lynch is even trying anymore. He freely admitted to everyone that would listen that he started filming “Inland Empire” without a screenplay, and sounded quite proud of himself. Go figure, because at the risk of sounding like uptight sticks-in-the-mud, we prefer movies WITH screenplays – that way we know what they are about. You see, we have found that when one do not follow a screenplay, one just ends up with an assemblage of…uh.. baloney (or is it bologna?) on the screen that does not make any sense.

For instance, giant rabbits. “Inland Empire” starts off with giant rabbits wearing office suits, on a sitcom soundstage stage, with an eerie, echoing laugh track. To wit:

Why? To symbolize the surreal rabbit hole that is human perception, our neural synapses hopping like mad bunnies to make sense of it all? No, let’s not start that nonsense. It’s because there’s no screenplay. There were probably just some rabbit suits left over from the “Donnie Darko” shoot. Lynch then films a bunch other weirdo stuff for two and half hours, tries to cover with the “its-all-a-dream” plot device he used in “Mulholland Dr.”, before it finally all ends. It’s likely he just ran out of film, so roll credits and drive safely. Okey dokey, Lynch. Thanks for the movie, but it’s time to lie down now, give the old noodle a rest.

Lynch has a definite talent for arresting images, we were freaked out a few times, but he is annoyingly self-indulgent. Just filming wacked-out stuff does not a movie make. We have all kinds of weird ideas in our head too. Hummingbirds sucking the brain fluid out of our ears; giant Tater Tots chasing us around a Wal-Mart parking lot with salt and pepper shakers. No one would pay us to film that. Would they? Well, it would be nice, and we wonder how much they’d give us.. BUT OF COURSE NOT! That’s silly. We need to pay a psychiatrist to make them go away and Lynch should do the same. It would spare us the lectures from those condescending Lynchianites explaining how “deep” his movies are and how the rest of us squares just don’t “get” it.

We give the movie one star, a 27 pointed star that morphs itself into a Puerto Rican midget with a cowboy hat, sitting yoga-style on a Day-Glo beanbag chair, singing “God Bless America” in German with his zipper down. See, we “get” it just fine.

(“Inland Empire” is currently an Instant Watch on Netflix.)

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