08 August 2008
I loved the concept of this one, about living life by chance, ignoring structure and safety and just letting chaos take over. And it's really well done here. The script is good, if a little unfinished, and the light-hearted nature of the film lets us enjoy experiencing what Ryan Reynolds is experiencing even though it's tearing him apart and might do to us too if we considered the effects of structured living in our lives. Ugh -- scary thought.
So, Ryan plays an efficiency expert who lives for list-making. Every moment of his day is set out, every minor and major choice in life planned in advance. One day, his wife decides to put a stop to it all and sets his clock forward. Only she sets it backwards by mistake so instead of giving him more time, she's taken time away, and this throws Ryan's life into chaos. He misses his boat, doesn't get to work on time, meets a woman and flirts with her, walks away from the woman and ends up crashing his car into another woman about to give birth. Circumstances turn so that his wife finds out all of this, and she boots him out. But the entire night of weirdness sets him on a path to discovery about his own life and how things in it are not as he thought.
It's a bit tragic what he goes through, but it's all for a good reason. The movie asks all those standard questions -- who are we, what is love, what is trust -- and it does it so matter-of-factly that you've got to respect it for not wallowing where it could wallow. Life, according to the movie, really does just happen, and we have no control whatsoever.
Ryan Reynolds is so my favourite actor right now, too. Can we get him in everything?
Reynolds is becoming the new Hugh Grant, the go-to guy for romantic comedies. This one was good. I liked the premise, but it was pretty clear that Stuart Townsend was doing to have a bigger part than it seems at first. Timothy Hutton Syndrome strikes again.
The deal is, after a series of mishaps (outlined above), Reynolds helps a pregnant woman get to the hospital. His wife, Emily Mortimer, finds out about this and immediately jumps to conclusions, so Reynolds has to get a blood test to prove the baby isn't his. Turns out, he has an extra X chromosome, which means he's been sterile since birth. Yet there's this seven-year-old daughter at home...
Exactly. The accuser becomes the accused. Turns out, though, Mortimer and Townsend were together the week before she began her whirlwind romance with Reynolds, so there was no cheating involved. So what's all this talk of "forgiving her", then? She didn't lie about the child's paternity - she didn't know. But that's about the only thing that bugged me. That and the bookends which seemed only to add another ten minutes to the running time and absolutely nothing to the story in general. Overall, quite good.
Never one for straightforward storytelling, David Lynch seems to have abandoned the concept altogether and just filmed a stream of consciousness nightmare of random, increasingly bizarre images that culminate in a final act of violence that resolves nothing.
And what the hell was up with the bunnies?
I've always liked Lynch. Even if I didn't particularly enjoy one of his movies (Wild at Heart and Lost Highway, for example), I could appreciate Lynch as a storyteller. But with Inland Empire, he seems to want to keep the audience at arm's length, to the point of alienating them altogether. It took an hour for anything in Inland Empire to grab my interest, and as soon as it did, Lynch shifted gears and moved away. Well, fuck you, too.
Lynch has stated previously that he hates it when a mystery is solved. My advice to him would be to Stop Making Mysteries.