Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani's homage to the giallo genre was filmed on Super 16, but what I saw was from a really crummy digital source. It looked like a theatrically sized YouTube video. There were so many of those digital Lincoln logs that Inland Empire now compares favorably to Casablanca. At times, there was little more than some blur of color being eaten by a surrounding black blob. (For the record, the digital Carlos looked a lot better than this.) So see a 35 mm print if possible.
Style is substance in Amer, just as it was for Seijin Suzuki, who would elide generic contrivances in his yakuza action films with radical cuts and by omitting psychological development, assuming the audience would fill in the details. Cattet and Forzani take a similar approach, but because they're working within a psychosexual genre, they omit sociological filler (friends, jobs, etc.) and drive the film inwards. Freeing the narrative from external, objective constraints and a rational narrative structure, the giallo is reduced to pure primal desire, which has always been its most appealing feature, anyway. However, they more or less replace the genre clichés with ones from psychoanalytic film theory. Ana, the protagonist, likes to watch, but really wants to be watched (she, of course, sees her parents in coitus -- the second primal scene of late, the other being in Enter the Void). She wants to be captured, bound and punished, as fetishized by the recurring presence of a black glove and shaving razor. And behind every masochist is the death drive, which begins to show up early on in Ana's fascination with her grandfather's corpse. (If it weren't for artists, would we still need Freud?) All of which is sexualized and stylized in a surrealistic montage of saturated hues, body parts and objects, conjoined by the sounds of metal scraping, leather squeaking, heavy breathing and the directors' favorites tunes from Italian cinema (Morricone, Nicolai, Cipriani, etc.). Some scenes are indeed perversely beautiful (particularly where a face gets symmetrically sliced up), but there are far too many close-ups to create any real horror or suspense. It feels like a perfume commercial borrowing from Argento instead of Resnais, with the hypnagogia of Chanel or Gucci.