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Föreningen Film i Malmö presents
Screwdriver madness! Prostitutes doing The Locomotion! A sitcom starring rabbits speaking gibberish! Welcome to the very, very (very) strange world of David Lynch’s INLAND EMPIRE (yes, he insists it’s capitalised). A twisted sister to the marvellous Mulholland Drive, it follows another Hollywood blonde (this time the astonishing Laura Dern) through a helter-skelter identity crisis. Non-linear, meta-fictional and just plain insane, this is Lynch burrowing deep, deep down into his subconscious. Naturally, many will say he’s embedded in a different part of his person, but even the most bemused will take away some unforgettable sights and sounds.
Is there a plot? Yes. For roughly half an hour. Dern’s Nikki Grace lands a role in a melodrama with the superbly Lynchian title On High In Blue Tomorrows. Not only based on a Polish gypsy curse, it’s also a remake of a film left unfinished after its leads were murdered. Soon, there’s no telling whether Nikki is herself, her character Sue or someone else altogether. Time and space also turn topsy-turvy.
“IT GETS UNDER THE SKIN”
Running a daunting three hours, INLAND EMPIRE is a patchy, repetitive, frustrating experience, filled with characters you don’t know spouting stuff you don’t understand or care about. And we don’t just mean the rabbits – they’re actually quite cool. Shot on scuzzy DV, it’s also harsher on the eye than the director’s other works. Yet for all its flaws, it gets under the skin in ways only his films can. If you can last out long enough, the last 40 minutes or so are vintage Lynch – sheer mounting dread giving way to a bizarre ‘happy’ ending. The man’s still a genius; he just needs to be more ruthless in the editing suite.