Inland Empire by David Lynch (USA, 2006, 197 min.). Screened on David Lynch’s personal 35mm print.

Lynch’s follow-up to Mulholland Drive stars Laura Dern as a Nikki Grace, a married actress working on a Hollywood film about a love affair in the American South. Nicki soon becomes involved with her (also married) co-star (Justin Theroux) and the two rapidly lose track of the line between reality and cinematic fantasy. Their director (Jeremy Irons) confesses that the film they are shooting was in production once before, but dropped due to horrific events on set.

Watch the trailer

Interpreting the Film

When it comes to David Lynch’s more cryptic films like Inland Empire and Mulholland Drive, viewers are in two distinct camps: those who look for definitive meaning in the narrative, and those who favor a less analytic, more emotional experience. Some of us fall between the two, fluctuating between detective and dreamer as we watch.

If you are inclined to sleuth for meaning in Inland Empire, Jeremy Blackman’s in-depth analysis offers intelligent theories about Lynch’s intentions.

For those who prefer a more emotional experience, Jim Emerson’s poetic review offers useful tools for navigating the film, without narrative clues or spoilers.

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