Brutal fucking movie - Page 3

An exquisite corpse review of Inland Empire

Have you ever seen a little rotted animal?

"Hey — look at me and tell me if you've known me before." This line repeats throughout Inland Empire, and yeah — there's definitely David Lynch déjà vu at work here: Mulholland Drive's twisted Tinseltown, Twin Peaks' slutty-girl world, Blue Velvet's dark suburbia, Wild at Heart's seedy glamour and endless Dern worship. Plus the inevitably singular moments: Where, before or since, has a splattered bottle of ketchup foreshadowed a murder? Committed on the exact square foot of cement that encases Dorothy Lamour's Hollywood Boulevard star?

I love seeing people come out of darkness.

Just as it's tempting to view Mulholland Drive's semiuseless dude passages as a simple opportunity for Lynch to spank Quentin Tarantino, this time around his humane take on Eastern Europe might be a genial yet hostile retort to Eli Roth. The director himself won't say anything about his movies or their influences — he'll never fess up that Mulholland Drive is essentially Carnival of Souls moved from Salt Lake City to showbiz central, even if one of Inland Empire's most terrifying moments echoes the zombies-running-at-the-camera shock tactics of Herk Harvey's 1962 cult classic. (The scariest Dern close-up adds more voltage to the peak jolt of Takeshi Shimizu's video version of Ju-on, which goes to show, what comes around goes around.) Inland Empire's new capitalist whores might be talking with or back to the ones in Lukas Moodysson's Lilya 4-Ever and Ilya Khrjanovsky's 4, a recent movie with an amazing sound design overrun by Lynchian subsonic rumbles.

Fellini had me sit down. He was in a little wheelchair between two beds, and he took my hand, and we sat and talked for half an hour.... That was Friday night, and Sunday he went into a coma and never came out.

Inland Empire is more than long enough to have some dodgy or cringeworthy moments, which include a fair amount of bad acting by models, the jarring soundtrack misfire — rare for Lynch — of Beck's "Black Tambourine," and a final lip sync of Nina Simone's "Sinnerman." No one can double for the late Dr. Simone! But Dern, her dirty strands of hair looking like facial wrinkles and bruises, can double over endlessly. By the time she's on Hollywood Boulevard, caught between a young female junkie and a homeless untouchable calmly discussing how to get the bus to Pomona, she's suffered a shattering fall from the confines of her lavish, hermetically sealed estate in the recesses of the Inland Empire (both the one in her zip code and the one in her mind).

I went to a psychiatrist once.

"You gotta swing your hips, now. Come on, baby. Jump up. Jump back. Well, now, I think you've got the knack. Now that you can do it, let's make a chain, now. (Come on baby, do the Loco-motion.) A chug-a chug-a motion like a railroad train, now. (Come on baby, do the Loco-motion.) Do it nice and easy, now, don't lose control: a little bit of rhythm and a lot of soul. So come on, come on, do the Loco-motion with me."

So I say: Peace to all of you. *

All the sentences in italics are from Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity, by David Lynch (Tarcher/Penguin, 2006).

INLAND EMPIRE

Opens Fri/9

See Movie Clock at www.sfbg.com

www.inlandempirecinema.com

>

Also from this author

  • We walk with a zombie

    Nights and days of the dead economy and culture -- in art, movies, books, and song

  • SFIFF: Shots in the dark

    Short takes on SFIFF

  • "The Exiles" on Main Street

    A lost American vision returns to light up the night at the Castro

  • Also in this section

  • Manscape

    The male protagonists of 'Fading Gigolo' and 'Locke' do what they gotta do

  • Mr. Nice Guy

    'Super Duper Alice Cooper' goes through the looking glass with a rock legend

  • Projections

    A long list of short takes on SFIFF 57, in chronological order