Inland Empire (2006) - Limited Edition

Genre(s): Drama / Mystery
Rhino || R - 180 minutes - $29.98 || August 14, 2007
Reviewer: Elyusha Vafaeisefat || Posted On: 2007-09-13


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: David Lynch
Writer(s): David Lynch (written by)
Cast: Laura Dern, Jeremy Irons, Justin Theroux, William H. Macy


Theatrical Release Date: December 6, 2006


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • More Things That Happened (Deleted Scenes)
  • Stories
  • Lynch 2
  • Quinoa
  • Ballerina Deleted Scene
  • Stills Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailers


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English

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.::THE FILM::.

Inland Empire is the latest film on writer/director/crazy-man David Lynch's long film career. Lynch has made a reputation for himself as an experimental director over the course of his almost 40 years of filmmaking. People who watch Lynch's films either "get it" or don't know what the hell is going on. His previous film, Mulholland Dr. is a perfect example of the polar nature of his films. A common phrase one may hear with regards to Lynch's filmmaking is "you either love him or hate him." However, I am somewhat in the middle where I don't quite love his filmmaking style nor do I dislike it. I do respect him as a writer and director though I do believe sometimes he purposely tries to confuse his audience. And Inland Empire is no different.

The story is about actress Nikki Grace (Dern) who lands a much desired role in a remake of Polish film that apparently was cursed after the two co-stars were murdered. Nikki begins production on the American version of the film with her co-star Devon Berk (Theroux) who has developed a reputation for wooing his female co-stars. However, Nikki's husband becomes very jealous as he learns that Nikki and Devon may in fact be involved in an affair off the set. That is where the subheading of the film "A Woman In Trouble" comes into play. Now this is not a confusing storyline at all. The problem is that this storyline takes up only 1 hour of Inland Empire's 3 hour running time. The rest of the film becomes this surreal look and intertwining storylines between the Polish actors and their film, Nikki's relationship with Devon, Nikki's relationship with her husband as well as people with giant rabbit heads.

Lynch's approach to filmmaking has always been different than anyone else I have ever seen when it comes to American films. That is partly why I do have a great deal of respect for him as a filmmaker but he most certainly tends to just do his best to try and confuse the audience with unnecessary scenes or characters which add nothing to the film's plot. All that aside, I still think the film is worth seeing a strong performance by Laura Dern. Though Lynch has developed a reputation as being an off kilter director, he still is able to attract actors because of his past successes. The rest of the cast includes Jeremy Irons, Harry Dean Stanton, Julia Ormond, Diane Ladd, William H. Macy, Mary Steenburgen among others.

Though the film has a 3 hour running time, I never quite felt "bored" by the film. Lynch always gives his audience something to look at whether it makes sense or not. I am sure there are people out there who "got it" when it comes to the overall storyline but I guess I am once again in the middle ground. Some people may also say that no one with "get it" after the first viewing and that "multiple viewings" are needed to understand that film. That all could be true or could be complete bullshit but I guess that is part of the fun of a David Lynch film.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

All the extras on the 2 disc edition of the film can be found on disc #2.

The main extra is appropriately titled More Things That Happened. On almost every other DVD, these would be "deleted scenes" but I think even Lynch realized that these aren't really "deleted scenes" because many of the things that didn't make it to the film would not have helped develop the film in any kind of way. Basically, its just more footage that Lynch shot that may or may not make sense to you. Lynch gives us 1 hour and 15 minutes of "other things that happened." Thanks to digital cinema, Lynch is able to let his camera run or is able to experiment more with other scenes because of that fact that the expense of film development is eliminated with digital cinema.

The next extra is Stories which runs approximately 41 minutes. This was easily my favorite extra on the DVD because Lynch gives his honest input into a range of topics such as digital cinema, sound design and his thoughts on chapter breaks on DVD's.

Lynch 2 is a 30 minute candid look at Lynch as a director. Not many directors would allow themselves to be seen the way Lynch is shown here. We see him as a specific and very demanding director but he knows exactly what he wants in every aspect of filmmaking.

Quinoa is a 20 minute featurette in which Lynch shows us how to make one of his favorite dishes, Quinoa. He cooks the dish and also provides anecdotes on some of his travels in Europe. If there were any doubts that Lynch was a little off his rocker, this extra will confirm that.

Ballerina is a 12 minute deleted scene of a ballerina performing to music. Good luck "decoding" what that means in the context of the film.

Finally, we get 7 minutes worth of stills and 3 trailers for the film.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The video transfer on the DVD is not really what one would call aesthetically pleasing. I guess that is one of the sacrifices one makes if they choose digital over film. As a result, the film looks grainy and amateur. That may be what Lynch was going for but I just found it distracting in many parts. Still, I found it refreshing to see a world renown director attempt to make a film of this nature with a digital camera that is available to anyone who can afford it (Lynch uses a Sony DSR-PD150 digital camera which runs about $2000-2500). The film is shown in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen.

The audio transfer is solid and is presented in 5.1 Dolby Surround and 2.0 which is optimized for stereo. I actually found the sound design to be one of the stronger points of the film but the bass levels seemed to be low in many of the scenes with heavy dialogue and as a result, it was sometimes difficult to understand what was being said.



.::OVERALL::.

The DVD package as a whole was put together fairly well. The extras were very interesting for the most part. The film itself is as confusing as it gets when it comes to David Lynch, though the unique filmmaking style and good performances make the 3 hour film watchable. Lynch has been a huge supporter of digital cinema and his said openly that it is much better than film. I am very curious to see what other experimental films Lynch will make in the future. Hopefully I will "get it" next time.