Brutal fucking movie

An exquisite corpse review of Inland Empire

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A corpse is a corpse, of course, of course. And no one can talk to a corpse, of course. Unless, of course, that corpse is brought to you by the famous Mr. David Lynch. In this case the corpse gets up and shuffles away, walking the earth like something out of a Samuel Beckett play directed by George Romero.

My thirty-three-year practice of the Transcendental Meditation program has been central to my work in film and painting and to all areas of my life.

"Are you looking for an opening?" Look over here, if you dare, and make your entrée through a tableau of rabbit-headed domesticity complete with sitcom-style applause and a laugh track inserted at decidedly odd moments. Entrances and exits are everything in Inland Empire, which takes place in a universe so slippery your front door may no longer open into your living room but rather into a dark alleyway — and your identity might change if you step through.

So in July 1973 I went to the TM Center in Los Angeles and met an instructor, and I liked her. She looked like Doris Day.

"You have a new role to play?" Yes, you do, at the place where evil was born; your creepy new neighbor is more than happy to warn you of your imminent danger even as you stride around the ornate mansion that you and your violently jealous husband occupy. No matter, though. That new role is your big break, and your star turn in On High in Blue Tomorrows could mean you've finally stepped over the threshold into that magical land "where stars and dreams come true." Not coincidentally, it's also where evil was born — and where hammy Southern accents go to die.

I call that depression and anger the Suffocating Rubber Clown Suit of Negativity. It's suffocating, and that rubber stinks.

Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 fantasy is Lynch's almost three-hour New Nightmare, both a film and a studio lot overrun with elliptical numerical references: stages 4, 5, 6, 32, and 35; page 57. Where are we? Hollywood or Poland? And what time is it exactly? Is it 9:45 or just after midnight? Is it real time or remembered time, those two warring temporal spaces at the core of so many film noirs? Douglas Sirk–ian blue tomorrows are always just out of reach, but this is a rare instance in which the answer It's only a movie isn't very comforting — both viewers and characters seem trapped in a hellish real or imagined world that Lynch himself can't or won't explain. One thing is for certain: if you're running along the Walk of Fame, it's safe to say you're in danger.

It's so magical — I don't know why — to go into a theater and have the lights go down. It's very quiet, and then the curtains start to open. Maybe they're red. And you go into a world.... It's best on a big screen. That's the way to go into a world.

Oh yes, Inland Empire was shot entirely on digital video. And it's not that fancy-shmancy digital either. No, it's crap digital. But it's glorious crap — at once making the horror more potently ugly and profane and lending it the quality of gauzy impressionism. By the 4,000th squashed close-up of Laura Dern's twisted face, you're thinking there's nothing so grotesque as a degraded image — see YouTube, tweaked-out coverage of the Iraq War. Then Lynch's digital expressionism rallies, the incandescent flares of pixilated light at the twilight's last gleaming. Everything is illuminated unless it's not.

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