Monday, January 11, 2010

Inland Empire. B

It wouldn't surprise me if most viewers of 'Inland Empire' (at least the ones who aren't David Lynch aficionados) contemplated walking out of the movie at some point. Some probably even did. This is an intense, surrealistic psychological exercise of something, though I'm still not sure of what exactly. It took me three nights to watch 'Inland Empire,' 40 minutes one night, an hour the next, and 80 minutes on the last night. Whether the movie is intended to be seen in one sitting or not, I'm extremely glad I divided it into segments. The first 40 minutes were pretty easy and straightforward. Laura Dern, in an audacious, wildly unpredictable performance, plays Nikki Grace, an actress starring in a remake of a Polish production that, according to director Kinglsey Stewart (Jeremy Irons) was cursed. This sets up the first 40 minutes and I decide that to fully experience the rest of the movie I should wait until I have a little more energy for gazing at Lynch's mind game. So I stop it and return the next night, not sure what to expect. Now comes perhaps the toughest hour of the movie when Nikki's world becomes a maze that mixes reality with Kingsley's production and perhaps her own nightmare caused by, who knows, the supposed curse. This maddening experiment goes on for a good deal of time, only 60 minutes of which I'm willing to stand. Again, I'm too exhausted to continue and put the movie out for the night. 24 hours later I return, full of zest and intent on finishing this exasperating whirlwind of a movie. I've got 80 minutes to go. It doesn't really get much easier, though knowing that the film was winding down I was able to focus on it entirely rather than checking the time every few minutes. And then the movie ends with a group of hookers dancing and I think to myself, 'I am glad I saw this.' Then I put the movie to rest.

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