Now, I know there are worse films out there than Inland Empire (from what I've been told, I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With is one of them). But I very much doubt there's a film made with as much care, that took so long to craft and was anticipated so much but failed so miserably to become the amazing film the first forty minutes promise.
Usually I'd never consider a film with a great section this long to be a complete waste of time but, when it runs three hours long, those precious cohesive and entertaining moments feel further and further away and you almost resent for them being in the film at all since they only remind you of a movie you'd rather be watching.
I figured many would disagree with me, but I was shocked by just how many: “Dazzling and bewildering”; “Extraordinary, savagely uncompromised”; “David Lynch has never been more fearless or more fearsome”, the critics have exclaimed. Forgive me for saying so, but I wish sometimes Lynch would be constrained by conventions. His work always seems to make me happiest when it tells a story (see Mulholland Drive, the first season of Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet).
Inland Empire begins to tell a story, then veers into what felt like days of Laura Dern walking and running down halls doing this with her face. There are rabbit masks (so 2001) and a team of American Apparel girls who are meant to be creepy, but only made me feel like I had stumbled into a bad ladies night at The Charleston. Then there's the ending with the women singing about black power. What does it all mean? I didn't care.
For chunks of the film I simply closed my eyes, not falling asleep mind you, just choosing to relieve myself from one of the most frustrating experiences of my life.