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Inland Empire: Huhzuahwah? Huhzuahwah! (A Blogulator Mini-Review)

Qualler here, reporting from NYC yet again. This time, I left the bad avant-garde stand-up comic at home. I, along with other assorted members of The Blogulution contingent (namely, Arun) and others attended a screening of David Lynch's brand new movie, Inland Empire at the IFC Center in Greenwich Village. Unlike Chris, I do not feel the need to deflect criticism on not criticizing enough.

First off, we had a very special opener for the film, Mr. Justin Theroux. He is as dreamy in real life as he is on film, and I had to stop myself from asking him what it was like to know Brenda and Nate.

So the film itself! Oh, the film. Let's just say it opens with a classic opening montage of sorts that I won't spoil too much other than describing a sitcom involving people with bunny heads speaking in non-sequitors to a laugh track. We then get into the "plot," involving Jurassic Park's own Laura Dern as an actress who is about to star in a movie directed by The Lion King's own Jeremy Irons that may or may not have some kind of Polish hex on it. Things are stilted (of course, it's a David Lynch film) for a while, but one gets the sense that he can at least follow what is "happening." And then about a half hour into it, any sense of reality seeps away. Themes that may or may not involve the ridiculousness of Hollywood entertainment, prostitution, marriage, infidelity, drug use, hypnotism, the Polish, messed-up looking clowns, homelessness, and lesbianism (of course! David Lynch!) come and go through what ends up being a three-hour conglomoration of one really-effed-up dream.

But, it's too easy to classify the film as "all a dream." Like my favorite David Lynch film Eraserhead, the imagery in the film is at times stunningly odd, horrific, and naturally seeps inside your consciousness. I cannot begin to dissect everything that I saw, but I feel the urge to see what I can get out of it again. Though one might say it was overlong at 3 hours, I cannot fault Lynch for going overboard, because if it was his intention to make the audience feel a certain way, he succeeded. Some of the people in my group loved it, others hated it, but no one came away without a strong reaction. Before the film started, we saw a clip of David Lynch's Q&A session with the audience, in which he deflected any questions relating to plot with a rambling, grandpa-esque monologue on his love for coffee and cheese. One has no reason to dissect what the director's intention was anyway -- I will be seeing this movie again, and I have no doubt that it is one of the Top 3 films of the year.

**** (out of four)

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