I had the opportunity to see David Lynch's new film INLAND EMPIRE last week in Austin at the Paramount Theater. Chrysta Bell, an Austin vocalist who collaborated with Lynch on the film, and the David Lynch introduced the film, and he stuck around for a Q&A afterward.

I'm not sure if you can spoil this movie, but I'm still going to offer a spoiler-free review.

INLAND EMPIRE is Lynch's best film since Eraserhead. I've enjoyed most of the work that followed his brilliant debut, but nothing compares to this new film. It's an experience that just seems to fold into itself several times. The narrative is constructed out of emotion, sound, and reaction; the viewer can't rely on verbal dialogue to communicate the real story here.

Laura Dern delivers a stellar performance, one that seems to exorcise the demons of a thousand failed actresses from the screen before your very eyes. The rest of the cast (including Jeremy Irons, Julie Ormond, and Diane Ladd) seem like bit players from the Theater District in Dante's Inferno; and maybe they are. But they all give performances that seem to extend beyond the normal five senses.

I hate to go any further here, because I will start getting into the specifics. In short: This film makes Mulholland Drive look like a Lifetime Network movie. It's an incredible journey that should only be viewed by a small percent of the American public. Ten thumbs up!


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