My reviews often contain spoilers. So consider yourself warned.
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Inland Empire (2006)
After the sumptuous grandeur of Mulholland Drive, David Lynch decided to shoot his next feature in digital video (and has said that he now will use this technique on all consecutive projects). The result is not as distracting or cruddy as I had been heard but the film does suffer a bit from being done this way – some scenes are especially murky and I did find myself missing Lynch’s former polished visuals. However, the director still manages to give everything that signature David Lynch look.
The film also was shot without a working screenplay, the scenes being written for the most part on the same day they were filmed and this gives the project a bit of a cobbled together, piecemeal feel. But none of this is enough to derail the director’s overall vision and he pulls a magnificent rabbit out of his hat – one hell of a sister to the Hollywood tale of Mulholland Drive. Many of the familiar Lynch tropes are on display here, but it never feels like he is repeating himself. The only segments I thought that did not really go well with the film were the bits from the short series Rabbits, which felt forced and unrelated to the rest of what was on screen.
Laura Dern gives a phenomenal, multilayered, stunning performance – especially considering that she never really knew who her character was or what role she was playing – but maybe that works better in a David Lynch film? If Lynch had employed a proper editor and reigned in some of the excess this may have rivaled Mulholland Drive. The beauty, however, is that it still comes close. B+