Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. Only David Lynch could make the incomprehensible so compelling.
  2. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    88
    Inland Empire may be the most aggressively surreal feature film ever released to movie theaters in this country, and it's possibly close to the movie David Lynch carries around in his head.
  3. David Lynch's first digital video, almost three hours long, resists synopsizing more than anything else he's done. Some viewers have complained, understandably, that it's incomprehensible, but it's never boring, and the emotions Lynch is expressing are never in doubt.
  4. It may not look like anything he's done before, but Inland Empire joins "Mulholland" and the whatzit "Lost Highway" (1997) to form the strangest show-business triptych around. All three concern artists whose identities demand more than one body. The films give new meaning to the phrase "dual citizenship."
  5. Over time, though, with films such as "Lost Highway" and, to a lesser extent, "Mulholland Drive," Lynch's movies became less personal and more private. Whatever he is working out in his new film, Inland Empire, it's beyond the reach of all but his idolators.
  6. Reviewed by: Damon Wise
    100
    A dazzling and exquisitely original riddle as told by an enigma, featuring a superb, multi-layered performance by Laura Dern.
  7. Inland Empire is so locked up in David Lynch's brain that it never burrows its way into ours.
  8. Reviewed by: Don R. Lewis
    100
    While I did enjoy the ride I took with the film, after the lights came up I was just thrilled Lynch was allowed to create such a journey for us to go on. Imagine what the cinema world would be like if more great directors threw caution to the wind and followed their artistic vision. It's a world I'd like to see and I hope Lynch continues to pave the way.
  9. 90
    It is Lynch's most experimental endeavor in the 30 years since "Eraserhead," that it will do nothing to draw new fans to the director's work and that, after two viewings, I cannot wait to see it again.
  10. Shot on grainy, often blown-out and distorted consumer-grade video, scored to a feedback distortion-heavy soundtrack that will be familiar to fans and tinnitus sufferers alike, and clocking in at one merciful minute under three hours, Lynch's much-anticipated follow-up to "Mulholland Drive" signals a hale swan-dive off the deep end, away from any pretense of narrative logic and into the purer realm of unconscious free association. I found myself pining for "The Elephant Man," but that's just me.
  11. Inland Empire is way, way beyond my powers of ratiocination. It's the higher math.
  12. 50
    What is Inland Empire - which Lynch is understandably distributing himself - about? What is it trying to say? If you figure that out, let me know.
  13. 67
    David Lynch's Inland Empire left me grasping for the merest crumbs of comprehension.
  14. Reviewed by: Aaron Hillis
    100
    Inland Empire is interchangably terrifying, maddening, shockingly hilarious and perversely exciting, and that's just to those who end up disliking it.
  15. 88
    My advice, in the face of such hallucinatory brilliance, is that you hang on.
  16. The film is dazzling and bewildering in equal measure.
  17. Those willing to give themselves up to Lynch's sensibilities will find a hypnotic and richly textural experience that challenges them to make their own connections through the imagery, echoes of repeated dialogue and metaphor.
  18. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    50
    Ultimately, Inland Empire left me angry at David Lynch, but it was the kind of intimate anger you feel when disappointed by someone you love. If you can tolerate its lack of narrative cohesion, Lynch's film will continue to reward you with visual and auditory surprises right up till the end.
  19. By the time Inland Empire, David Lynch's three-hour digital epic shot on a home video camera, takes you through its tour of the contents of the director's febrile imagination, it's probably the bunnies you'll most remember.
  20. 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.
  21. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    100
    In the end, it's best to make peace with the film's essential and deliberate inscrutability -- something Lynch fans have learned to do since Twin Peaks -- and to simply marvel at Dern's astonishing performance, which few actresses are likely to top anytime soon.
  22. Reviewed by: Jay Weissberg
    50
    Inland Empire may mesmerize those for whom the helmer can do no wrong, but the unconvinced and the occasional admirer will find it dull as dishwater and equally murky.
  23. 50
    Inland Empire is Lynch's most experimental film since "Eraserhead." But unlike that brilliant debut (or its two masterful successors, "Blue Velvet" and "Mulholland Dr."), it lacks concentration. It's a miasma. Cheap DV technology has opened Lynch's mental floodgates.
  24. 50
    If anything, it's worth watching as yet another example of Lynch's extraordinary collaboration with Dern. It may be overstating things to call her performance heroic, but it's nothing if not brave, as she dares to embody Lynch's most brutal impressions of Hollywood -- not as a dream factory, but as the place where dreams come to die.
User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 124 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 64
  2. Negative: 19 out of 64
  1. NeilL
    Mar 24, 2009
    10
    Now that the critical dust has settled (love it or hate it, as always), this film stands out as Lynch's most complex, troubling and Now that the critical dust has settled (love it or hate it, as always), this film stands out as Lynch's most complex, troubling and perverse work. For that feat alone it deserves the highest score possible. It will continue to fascinate and perplex. Full Review »
  2. DerekC
    Oct 24, 2008
    9
    I'VE BEEN LYNCHED! - Bad, inevitable joke, but also fitting. One has to trust Mr. Lynch to sit through a film like this. What does one I'VE BEEN LYNCHED! - Bad, inevitable joke, but also fitting. One has to trust Mr. Lynch to sit through a film like this. What does one do with the grotesque in this film, as in his others? How about the evil, the innate self-destructiveness and pathetic cluelessness of mankind? There is no such thing as a happy ending in a Lynch film, despite appearances to the contrary. We're put through an intriguing, in your face nightmare. What does one do? Oddly enough it is possible to enjoy it. As a fan of Alain Resnais films, which are typically cryptic and challenging, I consider David Lynch to be the next generation of his school transplanted and grown in America. Inland Empire is so buried in the current American psyche it is startling. It digs right down to its twisted and self-strangling roots. Our culture is incomprehensibly bizarre. Inland Empire reflects that and leads you to feel like a victim of our own country's behavior. It's the undercurrent spirit of the age, increasingly so as time continues past the release date of the film. Then there are the parallels of the film inside the film inside the mind of the lead character that take place in Poland. Surprise America. Mankind has been there and done that before elsewhere in the world. How do humans entertain themselves? Persistently. Perennially. We don't just invent 'American' dreams. We consistently insist upon inventing dark games of deceit, sex and intrigue. Like it or not, we all make Lynch films of our lives. And we find it entertaining in the moment of each moment's birth. What are we? Why are we so dark? Why has mankind alone invented evil? With a bit of cinematic magic and flash, David Lynch dares put us through a hall of mirrors in an attempt to find out. The challenge: find the thread of sanity that holds us together. To Lynch fans, surviving the journey is worth the knowledge of understanding. Can we learn from our mistakes? Can we grow? Full Review »
  3. Mar 21, 2012
    0
    Worst movie ever. Not only because there is no plot, mainly because there is no real work behind. Mr Lynch think he is so brilliant that heWorst movie ever. Not only because there is no plot, mainly because there is no real work behind. Mr Lynch think he is so brilliant that he doesn't need the give sens to his creativity.

    On the other hand when I see so many of his fans loving blindly that movie, making them think, they are remarkably sensitive beings because they liked it, you can say that Mr Lynch is a genius.
    Full Review »