David Lynch is a director known for blending surreal moments throughout his films. Inland Empire has always felt bothrealistic and haunting, but the 4K restoration of this film is even more daring. Inland Empire spans the many desires for auteur directing from the mind of Lynch. When I revisited Inland Empire after a five-year hiatus from watching it the first time, I was even more mesmerized by its many fascinating twists. Lynch’s directing creates the amazingly vivid role played by Laura Dern featuring many mind-bending realizations. Inland Empire’s 4K Restoration kept me wondering how much more could Lynch do to make this film an even more psychopathic ride.
To recap the plot, Lynch takes his audience into the vast lands of California. Dern plays Nikki Grace. Nikki is an actress that has just landed a part in a movie that she is ecstatic to be a part of. In spite of Nikki’s excitement, the film takes a ride into many dark corners. With Lynch’s creative mind, the dark corners are unexpected and sometimes confusing to understand. Nikki’s world begins to evolve with a strange persona. The persona isthe character she is going to play in her next film which lead tonightmares for Nikki as various areas begin to go awry. Her husband Devon Berk (played by Justin Theroux) is jealous and ends up as the co-star of her next film. Tensions begin to pile on as this happens. The director Kingsley Stewart (played by Jeremy Irons) blindsides Nikki and it is not what she expects. As more stressors build for Nikki, the rapid evils that Lynch createsreach a climax in the cinematic sense.
Lynch combines the treacherous nightmares of Nikki in Inland Empire. He does so as the film interweaves patterns between the past, present and future. These patterns are quite unsettling, but also invigorating. Dern gives the most audacious performance in Inland Empire. She stays in tune with her anxiety as she did in Lynch’s Blue Velvet (1986). Only this time, she is the one who is in grave danger if she cannot find a way to escape her nightmares.
Inland Empire is nearly a three-hour film in which Lynch dares his audience to follow his directing to new levels of anxiety and fear. Lynch’s way of filmmaking always leaves his audience with unanswered questions. I still have many with Inland Empire and continue to ask myself what Lynch is trying to tell his viewers. Perhaps, he is not trying to tell his audience anything, but instead just displaying his love for film in the most artistic way possible.
Dern’s incredible performance is the artistic centerpiece of Inland Empire. The consciousness of Nikki is pure Lynch filmmaking. As the many strange fragments of Nikki’s life evolve into uncharted territory, the world in Inland Empireexhibits intriguing parallels. The many heightened anxieties in this complex movie may not be fully understood, however, it is one that is hard not to watch. Relive the world of Nikki with Inland Empire in 4K Restoration Three and a half stars.