This latest offering from critically-acclaimed director David Lynch will be lauded by his fans, loathed by his detractors and will bemuse even further, if that is possible, all who can't quite make their mind up about his work.
Nikki Grace (Lynch movie veteran Dern) is waiting for news on a part in 'On High in Blue Tomorrows', which, we later learn, is a remake of a film shot previously but never released. The movie is based on a gypsy curse, and rumour abounds that it is cursed, as the original stars were brutally murdered.
Early on, a new neighbour of Nikki's, a rather freaky looking lady (Zabriskie), pays a visit to warn her against accepting the role.
However, Nikki is eventually awarded the part and she hooks up with director Kingsley Stewart (Irons) and co-star Devon Berk (Theroux). Nikki and Devon strike up a close working relationship that shows all the hallmarks of an impending affair. That's about as simple as Lynch ('Twin Peaks', 'Blue Velvet') makes it for us.
The first hour of this three-hour long production mostly makes sense. But then we are thrown from dodgy suburban houses in Los Angeles, to dangerous Polish streets and then to inane conversations between a group of prostitutes who literally do the 'Loco Motion'. And that's without even mentioning the customers with large rabbit-heads (one of whom is voiced by Naomi Watts).
Many of the actors have worked with Lynch before, and 'INLAND EMPIRE' shares similarities with Lynch's last feature film, 'Mulholland Drive'.
If you believe you made sense of Lynch's 2001 effort, or just enjoyed the sheer randomness of it, 'INLAND EMPIRE' will prove to be a salivating step further away from the mainstream.
Although Lynch had an overall idea for 'INLAND EMPIRE', the scene scripts were only finalised and delivered to the actors on the day of shooting. Some will find this fresh and inspiring. Others will point to it as a reason why many scenes lag and why the film loses any sense of direction for at least an hour, if not longer.
Lynch is to the film industry what Radiohead are to the music business. Though he is more than capable of making splendid movies for a wider audience ('The Straight Story', 'The Elephant Man') he chooses to be self-indulgent. It may be hugely frustrating for those of us who simply can't, or don't want to, get our heads around his way of thinking, but that probably only serves to endear him even more to those who have total appreciation for what he does.
It might not be your cup of tea, but you can't help but respect his resolve.