Axxon N, the longest-running radio play in history.
– David Lynch, Inland Empire, 2006
To the best of my recollection, no one again says those first two words after the opening line. But you do see the words. “Axxon N,” written on a metal wall in an alleyway behind a movie studio. “Axxon N,” written on a brick wall in an anonymous Baltic city. The words are iconic, enigmatic, ominous, portalic, probably meaningless — prototypically Lynchian words.
This is a movie about movies. There are characters who talk to one another; there is location and story, emotion and mood, action and reaction. But Inland Empire isn’t about any of these things. It’s about acting, dialogue, staging, scenery, screenplay, editing, sound effects, cinematography, directing. It’s also about going to the movies, watching, listening, becoming immersed, trying to understand, trying to create meaning.
I understand that “Axxon N” is the name of an internet video series that David Lynch was going to make for his website. I guess he decided to make it part of the movie instead.
In one of the scenes the main character becomes a hooker, streetwalking across the famous stars pressed into the concrete sidewalks at Hollywood and Vine. Here too “Axxon N” is written on the wall. Ten minutes down the coast from our town is Cannes. In the plaza outside the film festival headquarters the stars have pressed their handprints into the concrete. David Lynch’s is one of the prints.
I get more personal inspiration watching David Lynch movies than anyone else’s. I don’t always love what he’s done — though usually I do — and sometimes I think he’s messing with me. But consistently I get the sense of a guy who’s trying to show the things that maybe only he can see to anybody who wants to take the trouble to watch.