An actress and a leading man find their lives unravelling around them during a troubled film shoot in David Lynch's experimental feature starring Laura Dern and a who’s who of Hollywood.
Inland Empire is just as notorious among cinephiles and David Lynch obsessives for what happened behind the camera as it is for what happened in front of it. Yet you don’t enter into a Lynchian cinematic venture expecting it to be normal: you want it to be weird and terrifying and captivating all at once. Dern famously recounted a story about a producer on the film asking whether Lynch was joking when he requested a one-legged woman, a monkey and a lumberjack in a one-hour turnaround, to which she replied "Yeah, you're on a David Lynch movie, dude. Sit back and enjoy the ride."
An experimental feature shot predominantly on a Sony camcorder by Lynch, Inland Empire baffled its stars as much as audiences when it premiered at Venice. The plot, like most Lynch plots, is layered and complex. In its simplest form, it follows a troubled film production as an actress (Laura Dern) and leading man (Justin Theroux) find their lives unravelling around them during the shoot. Making up Inland Empire's eclectic supporting cast are Harry Dean Stanton, Jeremy Irons, Julia Ormond. Terry Crews, Mary Steenburgen, and William H. Macy (to name a few).
Lynch has long been obsessed by the balance of light and dark, often utilising Dern as the lighthouse: the beacon of hope and illumination as the weight of darkness, corruption and insidiousness fester at the edge of frame. Lynch has been a seminal figure in Dern's development as an actress and an artist across Blue Velvet (1986) and Wild At Heart (1990), and any time the pair reunite it’s unmissable… even if the occasion is as weird and baffling as Inland Empire.
– Maria Lewis, Assistant Curator
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Strong themes, violence, coarse language and sexual references
READ: Five of Laura Dern’s Favorite David Lynch Stories
Miriam Bale, Vulture, Dec 2017
LISTEN: David Lynch's Latest Endeavor Breaks New Ground
Andrea Shea, NPR, Dec 2006
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