Inland Empire at the Castro Theatre

23:33 Thu 08 Feb 2007. Updated: 02:34 09 Feb 2007
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I went to see David Lynch’s Inland Empire at the Castro Theatre tonight, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I’m not going to try to explain or summarize it—that would be quite a task. A very quick sketch would be to say that it’s about an actress who gets a part in a film that may be a remake of a previous film that was never finished and might be cursed, and the actress finds herself crossing over into other realms, including into the story of the film itself.

With plenty of bizarre scenes and characters, of course. Lynch seemed more self-referential, and self-mocking, in this film than I’ve noted in any of his other work. Some of the scenes were very much playing up their over-the-top ridiculousness, and early on I strongly suspect that a tight focus on coffee being served is an in-joke.

Laura Dern was excellent in it, as in fact were all the actors. Lynch is consistently able to get extremely good and highly wide-ranging performances from the actors in his films (I think that Mulholland Drive showcases this).

While I don’t want to attempt an “explanation” per se, I do want to go over a theory of what Lynch is doing in this film (and, possibly, in his other work).

We all interpret the world (our world) mediated by our own psychic landscape. We’re often not really aware of that landscape, just like we’re not really aware of the curvature of our eyeball and its effect on what we see. It’s just part of the view. I think that Lynch is underscoring this difference by having his movies show us what it’s like to see the world through someone else’s psychic landscape, with all its bizarre features, including its cosmology—its theory as to how the world fits together and works.

Seeing a Lynch movie is seeing a world via someone else’s mind, with their normally-obscured psychic landscape exposed to our view.

Furthermore, Lynch is also suggesting that we change as people, that our own psyche undergoes dramatic changes, and that seeing the world through our own eyes might be extremely bizarre and jarring if you mess around with time and deprive us of a gradual transition. And on top of that, I think that his interpretation of the self is much more fragmented and malleable than the commonly-held conception, and he shows us the jarring incongruities between the worlds seen by the different selves we each have within us.

And he does this very, very well.

3 Responses to “Inland Empire at the Castro Theatre”

  1. NiallM Says:

    Lynch has just launched his own brand of coffee, according to a recent Salon interview I read.

  2. garret Says:


    above is a great interview with the man himself.Also sheck out David Lynch and cow in you tube
    I think in not explaining the film Tadhg you have written a great review of it, something that is unfortunately a dying art form.
    Well done it would be great to read more film reviews, did you see Apocalipto?

  3. Tadhg Says:

    NiallM: That’s pretty funny!

    Garret: Thanks for the kind words on the review. And thanks for that link, it’s a really excellent interview! Anyone interested in this post should read that. It makes me rather curious about Transcendental Meditation, too…

    I haven’t seen Apocalypto, although I’ve heard good things about it.

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