Brutal fucking movie - Page 2

An exquisite corpse review of Inland Empire

A cut is not a cut but rather a buzzing lightbulb; a long shot is not a long shot but instead a menacing corridor.

I love Los Angeles.

Delivering her lines like a long-lost relative of Maria Ouspenskaya in The Wolf Man and lensed and styled to look like a cross between Jane Wyman and an evil squirrel, Grace Zabriskie plays the ultimate nosy neighbor — one who inaugurates this pleasure and boredom zone by opening a window into the leading lady's future. Her director has a digital-video eye for combinations of lemon and gray as well as cheap Pepto-Bismol pinks and barf tones — he can make a palatial mansion look as grim as Eraserhead's dead living room. This is a movie about the horror of set design, the terror of lamps. Lynch can't help but look for and stare down the rabbit hole, that spot where it's hard to disappear, that place just down the way, the space that's tucked back, difficult to see from the road — the lost highway that connects to the dark hallway and the innumerable nooks and crannies of negative space. As always, he fixates on the sinister brutality in pop's lexicon; this time, instead of candy-colored clowns tiptoeing into bedrooms, it's hearts wrapped up in clover.

It was the light that brought everybody to LA to make films in the early days. It's still a beautiful place.

Is Inland Empire really The Passion of Laura Dern? Yes, this is Dern's movie, her face being cut up in nearly every scene ("brutal fucking murder," as one character puts it), and Laura, what do you make of it? Are you in there? A spotlight trained on you, long and lean, running horizontally through the night in silent slow-motion, then toward the camera, then fast, then screaming like Rita Hayworth in the mirrors at the end of The Lady from Shanghai, but for three hours. Come back, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, Gene Tierney and Mary Pickford, Judy Garland and Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Fontaine and Natalie Wood, Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe: Lynch wants to make you stars again! A coast-to-coast search will soon be under way for the shot-for-shot remake of Inland Empire.

And sometimes things happen on the set that make you start dreaming.

No doubt, as the fate-strapped actress Nikki Grace, Dern makes an exquisite corpse. Oh, wait — she's actually Susan Blue, Nikki's alter ego and the character she plays in her latest film, a Southern potboiler that also stars Devon Berk (Justin Theroux) as Billy Side. Susan wanders through her fever dream screaming desperately for Billy, who always seems to be around the next darkly lit corner but rarely materializes. As the giant talking bunnies say, it all has "something to do with the telling of time." Of course, Nikki and Susan might have just fused into some kind of Lynchian-Freudian beast. The infamous Lynch psychofugue. It's an assumption borne out by a third Dern personality, a ball-busting broad with a mysterious bruise on her lower lip who permanently totes a rusty screwdriver.

What struck me about O.J. Simpson was that he was able to smile and laugh.

Dern's performance is like a disco ball in a hall of mirrors; it's rarely clear which character she's playing, but she's never less than entirely committed. One minute she's a kittenish starlet, long legs stretched out across a sun-drenched gazebo. The next she's a haggard has-been with a busted lip, climbing a set of dingy steps into a dark office, where she tells the man seated there — who is he exactly? And who's he talking to on the phone? — about how she once thwarted a rapist by plucking out one of his eyeballs.

I don't necessarily love rotting bodies, but there's a texture to a rotting body that is unbelievable.

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