I just wrote a ridiculous amount in response, but I realized it's gonna be hard enough to focus on just one thing, so I'll talk about the monologues for now...
I'm not thinking much narrowing down a specific time frame of logical events for the entire story, either. The emotional journey that the main character goes through completely ignores and destroys the conventional rules of time and space. Any literal interpretation can be safely ignored!
Personally I totally dug the Dern monologues, if just for her cutting performance. It felt RAW, also justifying by contrast all those scenes with Dern playing the thinly Hollywood-drawn southern adultress character, Susan Blue, on the movie set. While the fakeness of Susan Blue is truth, I figured the backstory of the monologue was the real truth spoken by Lost Girl, even though she was in the physical guise of the awakened Nikki Grace, yet speaking with the accent of Blue. The convergence of personas is the beginning of the end of this journey. It explains how she knew the Phantom - the hypnotist - and how this likely all started, her history of sexual abuse, and revenge. The Lost Girl, forced to watch Inland Empire, is a trapped victim, but was she always? Alternatively, the toughness of the character may yet be another fantasy to cover for her insecurities. How much of this is "truth" and how much is not... is probably meaningless in the end.
A stretch, but it also seemed much of these personas were informed by a foreign interpretation of American women - the slut actress, the street whore, the southern belle and bitch, self-consciously from American films.
It was also one of those nice chronological reveals, realizing her outpouring her anger... because it actually happened after she was "killed" and awoke from the Hollywood dream-set? Of course, the Theater Owner can't really do anything for her, even though she expects him to save her or give her answers... though in fact it's the ability to realize she is being watched and can watch the future on the projection screen which eventually gives her the power to free herself. Self-awareness? Industry ego?
I was still surprised to learn later that apparently the movie's production started with the 14-page monologue, before the rest of Inland Empire was conceived, written or filmed.
― Nhex, Monday, 1 October 2007 09:38 (fourteen years ago) link
I see Lost Girl as dead, all right, dead and in the Bardo( as in the Tibetan Book of the Dead).Same for Nikki/Sue,after the realization she's dead sinks in- an actress, it's follows her 'death scene'.In fact, I see them as the same 'Woman In Trouble.'
My Grand Unified Theory, part 1, anyway
― Carl, Friday, 4 December 2009 23:11 (twelve years ago) link
― turkeylurkeyknull, Saturday, 27 March 2010 09:21 (twelve years ago) link