Strung together purely by emotional cues, cryptic symbolism, and themes of infidelity, murder, and mind-control, David Lynch’s “Inland Empire” is a fractaline labyrinth of story and storytelling, time and timelessness, watcher and watched, horror, delirium, and the impulse to resolve.
In this hyper-surreal reality, we learn that actress Nikki Grace (Laura Dern) is up for a new role. In fact, her foreboding new neighbor from down the road "definitely hears that she has it." Sure enough, she lands the female lead opposite Hollywood "bad-boy" Devin Berk (Justin Theroux) in director Kingsley Stewart’s (Jeremy Irons) new film “On High in Blue Tomorrows.”
This movie within a movie, based on an old Polish Gypsy folk-tale, focuses on an extra-marital affair. As we soon discover, it is the second attempt at the film’s production. The original, a German undertaking titled “Siebenundvierzig (Forty-Seven),” abruptly ended when the two leads were murdered. Rumor has it the script is cursed.
Disturbed but determined, Nikki and Devon assume their roles, but when the story begins to spill over into their own lives, a psychic roller-coaster ride ensues, complete with otherworldly colors, sounds, and moods, eerie rabbit headed humanoids, prostitutes dancing “The Locomotion,” Polish circus performers, an inter-dimensional phantom named Crimp, central traumas involving the death of a son and murder by screwdriver, a cameo by William H. Macy, a red lamp, a portal through a cigarette burn in a piece of silk, and an ever-looming camera.
As for what it all means, theories are abundant. Whether it ultimately depicts a troubled, fragmented psyche, a nightmarish case of quantum entanglement, or is, as Lynch himself insists, merely abstract art, he has out-Lynched himself and it deserves your attention!