Under the Silver Lake (2018)

Opinion & writing by Tony Frame

Under the Silver Lake is a film that hooked me immediately with it’s brooding opening with Andrew Garfield as a man in disarray, in a Los Angeles setting that hasn’t been seen on the screen since the days of David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive.

Cue Riley Keough, a neighbouring tenant in the same block as Garfield, whose mesmerising beauty, like a young Sharon Stone, captivates his interest from the outset, so much so that it seemed to me that she put him under a love-struck spell of sorts.

Images courtesy of IMDB

After a brief encounter with the alluring blonde bombshell, Garfield’s angst-ridden character finds that she has disappeared overnight therefore he sets out on a journey to find out what has happened to her.

The film is a neo-noir at heart and one that certainly has a lot of ideas and is full of mystery and wonder within a number of fascinating locations in and around Hollywood.

Images courtesy of IMDB

There’s some likeable support from Jimmi Simpson in a few scenes and with the ominous overtone of Garfield’s mental state throughout, coupled with a mysterious dog killer on the loose (as well as many other goings-on in the movie) it certainly kept my interest for the majority of the duration

It’s a puzzling film in many ways, with themes of hidden codes and subliminal messages, sinister plots, and one would certainly get more out of it from multiple viewings.

Ultimately, though, I came out of it feeling somewhat slightly cheated after so much promise early on.

Images courtesy of IMDB

I thought the first hour was excellent, with a great narrative hook, but after that I felt it tried too hard to be a cinematic cocktail of Hitchcock and David Lynch and Richard Kelly, drizzled with overtones of De Palma and the Long Goodbye all over it. All of these ingredients were just too much and spoiled the taste for me in the end.

I still think it was a good movie, don’t get me wrong, but I do feel if writer / director David Robert Mitchell stuck to making it his own film, rather than trying to pay too much homage to the aforementioned others, then it might have been more original in the traditional sense, just like his previous film It Follows (2014) was.

It’s a film that I could see becoming a cult classic further down the line, if it isn’t already, and certainly the director is good at what he does.

Refreshingly disappointing for me, I would say, but If you haven’t seen the movie already then I’d say put it on your list of films to see this year, it’s certainly got plenty to offer.

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Director: David Robert Mitchell

Writer: David Robert Mitchell

Stars: Andrew GarfieldRiley KeoughTopher Grace | See full cast & crew »

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