So I saw it last week. This entry won't contain too many spoilers, since I didn't really have a clue about what was going on, although my friend was able to pick apart a lot of the meaning. It's not giving too much away to say that there are lots of unsettling moments, many scenes of visual brilliance, and a few compelling monologues, so that even though I failed to connect with the piece as a whole, there was plenty to keep me awake in the meantime.
The first thing to say about it is that it looks really horrible. Even the nastiest moments of David Lynch's previous films look sumptuous, thanks to the quality of film, but this was shot digitally. He seems to have really used the hard edges and washy colours to his advantage. There are many parts of the film that seem like self parody, and that I couldn't help laughing out loud about. For instance, the constant use of extreme out of focus facial close-ups. After the millionth such shot I thought it was going a bit far, but then again it did make for uncomfortable viewing, which (I suppose) was the point. The rabbits thing made no sense to me whatsoever, although I did enjoy those bits a lot. (Which came first, "Rabbits" or "Donnie Darko"?) Also, a monologue near the end had me giggling... well I won't give it away.
What I did take from this film was the feeling that if David Lynch could make something so fantastically and extremely indulgent, then I could do anything. It's as if he set out to make the most Lynchian film he possibly could, and with the use of digital technology he could be free to do so without anyone saying, "no you can't do that." I also really got the impression, rightly or wrongly, that he just made this film without stopping to think if it was "good" or not, that it was in his mind to do this so he simply went ahead and did it... of course, having been a genius director for thirty years counts for something, so his instincts are well honed.
As films go, I much prefer Mulholland Drive, which looks positively conventional in comparison to Inland Empire. Another friend compared this film to an art installation, which makes sense. You are definately strapped in for a ride when you sit down in front of it. The more I talk about it, the more I want to go and see it again.