Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



Directed by David Lynch.

Starring Laura Dern, Justin Theroux, Jeremy Irons.
Thriller, US, 180 minutes, certificate 15.


Released by Studiocanal on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK on June 19th.


It feels that at the time of its original release in 2007, David Lynch’s INLAND EMPIRE was perhaps taken for granted. With the director dabbling in digital video, it seems that the film was viewed as a bit of an experimental folly with a plot even more elliptical than that of its more celebrated predecessor MULHOLLAND DRIVE. How were we to know then that this would be Lynch’s last film, to this date at least. Now, with this 4K remaster from Studio Canal and The Criterion Collection, it can be seen as a piece of work that is easily the equal of anything else in his filmography and an important stepping stone, both thematically and visually, towards what could now be his final masterwork TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN.


Lynch’s self-described premise and subsequent poster tagline for the film, “A woman in trouble”, only goes so far as to describe the madness contained within this labyrinthine film. Over its three-hour runtime, we undertake an odyssey where Laura Dern’s character Nikki Grace lands a role in the feature film “On High in Blue Tomorrows” only to learn that it could very well be a cursed production. Plotlines split and merge in a dense fashion where reality, fiction, characters, and timelines bleed into each other and giant rabbits cryptically converse in a sinister sitcom-like set.


To go along with this uncompromising storyline was a digital style many found off-putting at the time. That harsh style has been remastered and approved by Lynch here, looking better than ever. While sharper, it retains its digital video grain without the smeary and sometimes harsh overlit look it had before. Lynch’s sense of style shines through more clearly than ever here, making it feel more of a companion piece to its predecessor than ever before, especially in its closing scene, suggesting that Lynch was into the concept of a shared cinematic universe well before Marvel got into the game.


This visual upgrade is worth investing, or re-investing, in alone, but this Studio Canal release also has a second disc of extras that make this a near-essential purchase for fans of the film and Lynch himself. The eighty-minute documentary LYNCH (ONE) is a fragmented yet insightful look into the director’s idiosyncratic style and behaviour as he films INLAND EMPIRE and seemingly breaks the world record for smoking in a documentary. As well as a short and more straightforward interview, there are also seventy-five minutes of deleted scenes that can be pored over and examined for extra clues to the film’s many mysteries.


Equal parts horror film, Hollywood melodrama, Euro-noir and psycho-sexual thriller, INLAND EMPIRE shines brighter than ever before now thanks to this excellent remaster. In danger of becoming a curio, this excellent package is a highly recommended upgrade on the previous Blu-ray release for both long-time fans and newcomers to this dark and mysterious chapter in Lynch’s filmography.


Iain MacLeod.


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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans