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"Everyone is the owner of their own desires...as a writer I want to give characters moral independence."  -Spanish film maker Pedro Almodovar
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Nikki (Laura Dern) is offered a role in a film directed by Kingsley (Jeremy Irons). Her co-star Devon (Justin Theroux) is warned to keep things professional, since Nikki's husband (Peter J. Lucas) is fiercely possessive. Their two characters - Sue and Billy - are on the verge of a romance. Early in the shoot they learn that the script, based on a Polish gypsy folktale, is a remake of a movie that was never finished because the original characters were murdered. When inevitably Nikki and Devon do wind up in bed together, Nikki starts calling Devon Billy and he starts calling her Sue; they realize they're transferring their screen personas from the movie into their own lives. Nikki is propelled on a series of fantastic escapades and encounters that she cannot understand, sometimes referencing her real life and the people in it.

Review by Louise Keller:
It's fantasy blurred with reality; the ridiculous submerged in the profound. Inland Empire is like being a part of one of David Lynch's dreams, and a pretty weird one at that. While it is not nearly as good as Mulholland Drive, this latest complex concoction is fascinating in parts; even if you don't understand it. At 3 hours it's overlong with a plot that often makes no sense as it meanders through the abyss of the subconscious. But lovers of Lynch's unique talents will no doubt find something to challenge the mind in this mysterious psychological drama about an actress trapped within her role. At best it is intriguing; at worst it is tedious. Either way, there's plenty to talk about.

Laura Dern as actress Nikki who takes on her dream role as Susan is the one constant, with emotions pitched at heightened level. So convincing is she and so slippery is the plot, we are often unsure if we are watching Nikki or Susan. Either way, she is in a state of angst throughout. The ingredients are bizarre. There's a strange Polish neighbour, a gypsy tale about a curse, a travelling show, bare breasts, whores on Hollywood Boulevard, a man with a light globe in his mouth, a screwdriver, a one legged girl, a pet monkey and a murder. But of whose murder, we are not sure. Then there is the presence of the three life-sized rabbits, two of which sit zombie-like on a three seater, while the third is ironing in the background, wearing a pink robe. Naomi Watts and Laura Harring provide two of the voices. From the canned laughter, they appear to be in a sit-com, but mysteriously they are also connected (by phone) to the dark stairwells where shadows lurk.

Lynch uses extreme close ups and irritating hand held cameras to take us into the frame. We are so close, we can almost feel the tears as they form, like multi-faceted diamonds immaculately conceived and discarded as they describe emotions. Diamonds or charcoal notwithstanding, Lynch's latest journey is a perplexity.

As if to give us an opportunity to hear David Lynch's own thoughts, the DVD's special feature includes five different interviews with the man himself, including a Masterclass, interview at the Cartier Foundation, Guardian interview at the National Film Theatre and one by Mike Figgis.

Published August 7, 2008

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(France/Poland/US, 2006)

CAST: Laura Dern, Jeremy Irons, Justin Theroux, Harry Dean Stanton, Peter J. Lucas, Karolina Gruszka, Jan Hench, Diane Ladd, Julia Ormond, Cameron Daddo, William H. Macy

VOICES: Naomi Watts

PRODUCER: David Lynch, Mary Sweeney

DIRECTOR: David Lynch

SCRIPT: David Lynch


EDITOR: David Lynch

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Christy Wilson, Wojciech Wolniak

RUNNING TIME: 172 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 15, 2007


SPECIAL FEATURES: David Lynch Masterclass; David Lynch interview at the Cartier Foundation; guardian interview with David Lynch at the National Film Theatre, a short interview in in London, a Conversation with David Lynch by Mike Figgis trailer


DVD RELEASE: August 6, 2008

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