Well known for his steadfast refusal to outright explain his labyrinthine cinematic constructions, David Lynch has also similarly discounted the notion of ever providing a running commentary for one of his films lest his words become literal fixations to his dreamlike images. A documentary like Lynch, then, seems about as close as we’re ever going to get to the director’s inner thoughts, except that this slipshod creation feels like a special feature rightfully nixed from the Inland Empire DVD. Filmed over the course of two years during the preparation for and shooting of the director’s magnum opus, the doc captures the man’s bizarre personality behind the closed doors of his office and studio as he paints, pontificates, and curses at interns. Though obviously made in awe of the director, Lynch barely gets beneath the surface of his gnarly personality, in large part because it assumes exposing the creative process to be the same as investigating it. Though it’s interesting to see the man at work on his latest masterpiece, the touch-and-go construction barely allows anything of relevance to simmer. Interview footage sees Lynch recounting a number of amusing anecdotes likely to be familiar to anyone who’s indulged into his madness beforehand, from his transitional period in Philadelphia to his commitment to transcendental meditation, but it’s the films emphasis on quirk that practically reduces him to a cute cultural oddity, streamlined here for misguided fanboys who claim to love his films because they have no clue what they’re about. A highlight sequence sees the director expounding on his love of factories and the thousands of photos he’s taken of their creepy, industrial bowels. This portion has nothing to do with the film’s imposing “arc” and is all the better for it, speaking not only to the ugly underbelly of the world that Lynch deliberately probes but to the mystery and intangibility of his craft. With such exceptions being few and far between, the film would be better entitled Lynch for Beginners.
- 84 min
- David Lynch, Krzysztof Majchrzak, Phillip Patela, Laura Dern, Weronika Rosati
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