Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Celuloid Heroes

Besides music, one of my other vices is watching movies. Good movies. Bad movies make me angry. I am admittedly as big a movie snob as I am a music snob. What that means to you is you will not read films discussed here such as "Pirates of the Caribbean" or "Transformers". And not because I didn't try to enjoy them; but because I found them to be almost unwatchable swill that insulted the intelligence of the viewer. Obviously, millions disagreed with me so what do I know...

What I do know is what I like. I like David Lynch movies. A lot! "Blue Velvet", the whole "Twin Peaks" series, "Mullholland Drive", and "Lost Highway" are some of my favorite viewing experiences. I love the look and overall feel of his films. I can not think of another filmmaker who does such a good job of bringing you to another world; usually a frightening one. So it was with great excitement when I received Lynch's newest 3-Hour mindfuck; "Inland Empire". With that said, I know enough about Lynch's intensely dark films to realize that you need to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy them. That is why I held on to the DVD for almost a month before I took the plunge.

I will start out by saying that people who are not already fans of David Lynch should stay as far away from this film as possible. Hell, I know huge fans of Lynch that are staying away from this one. I would try to outline the plot, but I can't. Not because I don't think there is one, but I sure as hell couldn't write it out coherently. If you are interested in a "plot" synopsis, you can read the Lynch message boards for the thousands of attempts.

To me, the key to enjoying Lynch's recent films is to not try to figure them out. Turn the lights off, pop this baby in and just let it wash over you. You will be brought into a film that feels more like a dream. In fact, that is exactly the feeling you have when the credits roll; that you have just awakened from a dream. The lighting, camerawork, sounds, and acting all create a transcendental state that I have never experienced before. You may think you have certain scenes figured out until the meaning gets twisted and escapes you. Like most dreams. The movie is like that for 3 hours. Dark corridors lead to characters and other scenes that seeming have nothing in common with what came before.

Critiquing this film like a "regular" movie is almost pointless. Do you review your dreams? Would it do any good to dissect them? Maybe so and maybe not. All I know this film has stayed in my mind like one. I don't know if that makes a good or bad film, but it surely makes for one that I will never forget.

I realize this description would turn off many people to the film. I know many people who think that Lynch is just full of shit and that he just films whatever he thinks is "weird" or "edgy". Many critics think he is mocking his audience at this point in his career. A bonus feature on disc 2 of the "Inland Empire" set proves how wrong that notion is. For 30 minutes, we get to see Lynch on the set explaining to cast and crew the smallest details of what he is going for. And he has it all in his head; not written on some paper. It is amazing to see and is almost as entertaining as the movie itself. What it proves to me is that Lynch is a true artist totally in charge of his craft. Not only do his scenes have a point to make, but the color of a light bulb or the placement of a chair means something to him and apparently to the story.

I can not tell you exactly what "Inland Empire" is all about. What I do know is we need more artists like David Lynch!

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