2020 has been a less than ideal year, yet one bright spot has been David Lynch's typically up and offbeat weather updates from L.A., uploaded to the filmmaker's YouTube channel. Indeed, Lynch has been curiously active over this year, releasing a short film What Did Jack Do? to Netflix aside from his YouTube uploads, and even teased in a recent interview that, if it wasn't for lockdown interrupting, he would have been working on a new film.
Since his first feature in 1977 to Twin Peaks: The Return in 2018 and other projects since and beyond, Lynch has established himself as one of cinema's premier filmmakers, almost immediately developing a trademark style mixing retro 1950s vibes with the surreal and quotidian in oftentimes uncomfortable combinations. Lynch doesn't just make film and television, however, having started his career as a painter and thereafter branching out into everything from photography to furniture design and even having released two albums.
However, cinema always has and always will hold a special place in Lynch's heart. All in all, the signs are pointing to Lynch returning to our screens sometime soon.
This seems a perfect time then to look back over Lynch's idiosyncratic filmography, ranking all ten of his feature films from worst to best.
10. Inland Empire
Certainly Lynch's most challenging feature, this is one only for hardened fans; newcomers are liable to be turned off by the low resolution digital cinematography, nonlinear narrative structure, and all the usual Lynchisms turned right up to 11.
Starring Laura Dern, Jeremy Irons, and Justin Theroux, Inland Empire concerns, in the most basic description that can be mustered, an actress's life falling apart as she begins to absorb the personality of the role she is playing. That, however, is an admittedly inadequate description of what happens, though mainly because this is the Lynch film that most epitomises the notion that the plot is not as important as the mood.
Inland Empire also marked Lynch's transition from traditional photochemical film to digital cinematography, a decision that the filmmaker champions and that was featured in the Keanu Reeves-produced documentary Side by Side. Whilst the switch afforded Lynch a degree of creative freedom that he found to be truly liberating, the low resolution look of the film is liable to be off-putting to some. Add to that a three hour run time and nonlinear, indeed oftentimes seemingly incoherent narratives, the film is really for the hardcore Lynch fans looking to immerse themselves in the filmmaker's world - and assuredly not for newcomers.