The Trippy Dream Factory of David Lynch
By MANOHLA DARGIS
There are, in the movies, few places creepier to spend time than in David Lynch’s head. It is a head where the wild things grow, twisting and spreading like vines, like fingers, and taking us in their captive embrace. Over the last three decades these wild things have laid siege to us even as they have mutated: the deformed baby of “Eraserhead” evolving into the anguished distortions of “The Elephant Man,” the Reagan-era surrealism of “Blue Velvet,” the serial home invasion in “Twin Peaks” and the meta-cinematic masterpiece “Mulholland Drive,” a dispatch from that smog-choked boulevard of broken dreams called Hollywood.
Mr. Lynch revisits that bewitched boulevard in the extraordinary, savagely uncompromised “Inland Empire,” his first feature in five years, his first shot in video and one of the few films I’ve seen this year that deserves to be called art. Dark as pitch, as noir, as hate, by turns beautiful and ugly, funny and horrifying, the film is also as cracked as Mad magazine, though generally more difficult to parse. I’m still trying to figure out what the giant talking rabbits — which seem to be living in Ralph Kramden’s apartment, as redesigned by Edward Hopper — have to do with the weepy Polish woman who may be a whore or merely lost or, because this is a David Lynch film (after all), probably both.
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