"The apparent obscurity of a David Lynch film can be pierced if you follow the ear from Blue Velvet. Lynch goes down a tunnel darkly: the ear in Blue Velvet, the keyhole of the blue box in Mulholland Drive, the cigarette burn in the silk in Inland Empire. Down that tunnel you'll find the underbelly of society, like the bugs in the undergrowth of the garden that's being watered in Blue Velvet. Lynch does something differently in Inland Empire, he brings Laura Dern back thru the tunnel (hole) - she arrives back to affluent society as her underbelly self. The moment is quite shocking when the 'star' with her common accent is told to 'get out' by the man who has been her seducer (or does she seduce herself/).
Following this clue gives an overview and an undertanding of the plot line. But Inland Empire is perhaps more confusing than the other two films mentioned because of the plethera of chracters, some who are not referred to elsewhere in the film, i.e. the man to whom the 'common' Laura Dern confesses. Perhaps some of these moments cannot be clarified but if attempted further viewings of the film would be needed and at a running time of 3 hours that's a daunting task.
Hats off to Laura Dern - what a performance!"