“Why ‘INLAND EMPIRE’ is not a steaming pile of horse manure” by Kasia P

For the vast majority of cinema lovers, a good movie can be defined as one to reflect on even years after seeing it. Undoubtedly, ‘INLAND EMPIRE’ matches this criterion, despite the confusion it causes for some viewers.

‘Love it or hate it’ could be the briefest conclusion of the existing reviews. For those who haven’t seen ‘INLAND EMPIRE’ yet I wouldn’t recommend getting fixated on those texts because they may either discourage or reveal too much of the details, which in the case of this movie may be disturbing. Instead I’d recommend preparing for a sensuous experience or an inward trip full of weird mental states rather than a predictable, narrow route – just to warn those who are not used to Lynch.

As usual, he explores a cinematographic no man’s land with twisted characters, experiments with the plot, and the doom and gloom scenery of Hollywood. Like in the previous masterpieces (i.e. ‘Lost Highway’ and ‘Mulholland Drive’ in particular) he plays with the signifiers and signified, and makes the viewers reconsider things once familiar – like names, time and space.

Although the multi-layered action with unpredictable twists may overwhelm, what makes ‘the journey’ through ‘INLAND EMPIRE’ truly fascinating is the complexity of emotions shown in the roles performed by Laura Dern, and, surprisingly, Peter Lucas.

The film in general reminds me of projective tests used in psychology to define a personality profile, in the way that what we see in the movie reflects our representation of the world. Although I doubt that neo-psychoanalysis could affect Lynch, I am convinced that such an interactivity between the director and the general viewer was one of his aims, as well as releasing the free-flowing skills of the imagination.

To sum up, ‘IE’ is definitely an exceptional movie, not only in comparison to those traditional Hollywood ones, but also to the former works of Lynch. Vague scenes may irritate some of the viewers, while others will be inspired by its ambiguity and weirdness, and acknowledge it as an extraordinary performance in the history of art. And even if David Lynch is a deviant person, he is still one of the most ingenious American directors, and one who can promote his film by walking with a cow on a leash and a poster saying “if not cheese, there wouldn’t be ‘IE'” – and without being considered ridiculous. This is why comparing ‘IE’ to horse manure is too strong, even for people feeling antipathy towards ‘IE’, and cow manure would be better, with reference to the aforementioned context.