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Inland Empire (AF)


Stars: Laura Dern, Jeremy Irons, Harry Dean Stanton, Justin Theroux, Grace Zabriskie, Diane Ladd

Director: David Lynch

Compared with this incomprehensible, interminable and hugely self-indulgent drivel, Lynch’s ridiculously overpraised last film, Mulholland Drive, is a masterpiece of rigorous filmmaking.

You know you’re in for a bad time when there are no press notes at a preview. Perhaps that’s because Inland Empire’s jumble of scenes defy synopsis. Perhaps Lynch dropped his script (if there was one) before filming and forgot to restore the pages to their original order. Perhaps he, like me, didn’t know what the hell was going on as Dern – giving a far better performance than the film deserves – begins as a movie star remaking a doomed Polish picture and ends up dead on Hollywood Boulevard.

I don’t want that to sound as though there’s an understandable narrative. There isn’t. The bloated three-hour running time features such stupid, tedious or just plain ridiculous ingredients as rabbit-headed humanoids, Irons embarrassing himself as a camp film director, girls flashing their breasts and dancing in living rooms while luckless Ms Dern’s confused, mostly pointless scenes find her wandering through wintry Poland, creepy hallways and watching herself on screen in a deserted cinema. Which, come to thing of it, sums up this twaddle. Lynch’s egregious ego trip deserves empty cinemas.

Alan Frank

USA 2006. UK Distributor: Optimum Releasing. Colour/bw.
180 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 04 Mar 2007