Under The Silver Lake is a dark comedy mystery film directed and written by David Robert Mitchell. It had its initial premiere at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival before getting a wide release by A24 in 2019.
Sam (Andrew Garfield) is a jobless vagrant who is on the verge of being convicted from his apartment. He gets a crush on his neighbor Sarah (Riley Keough), but she mysteriously vanishes. After seeing someone steal some of her items from her empty apartment, Sam begins to explore his neighborhood of Silver Lake in Los Angeles, California. After encountering a comic book writer and conspiracy theorist (Patrick Fischler), he becomes convinced that Sarah’s disappearance has something to do with the lyrics of a local indie band and possibly with the elite of society.
This movie is so incredibly bizarre that it is almost difficult to explain. There are so many twists and turns, connected clues, disconnected clues, red herrings, and odd possibilities that it would be hard to commentate on. At times, it feels disjointed and even unpleasant. That being said, I actually found myself enjoying it.
While the comedy does rely a lot on a twisted sense of humor, I still found myself laughing. There is a scene where Sam encounters a man who claims he wrote all of the hit songs for popular bands to brainwash the masses and he has a violent reaction to being found out. I laughed at his points and while the battle ends up being very bloody, I thought the whole bizarre nature of the encounter to be quite funny.
I can also say that the cast does a good job. Andrew Garfield continues to WOW me. He is an incredibly talented actor and he truly propels the descent into madness that the story takes you on. Sam is also not your typical protagonist. He is not necessarily heroic and his motivations border on obsession instead of a sense of duty. Garfield definitely brings this together in an excellent way.
Mainstream critics were tepid toward the movie and it is easy to see why. It has a clear criticism of the entertainment industry, its impact on society, and even how it hurts individuals. Unlike a lot of movies about Hollywood, it is not cheeky or self-complementary. Instead, through its absurdity and humor, it reveals a truth about Hollywood. It is a place of curses, degradation, shallowness, and darkness.
Bottom line, Under The Silver Lake is a twisty and windy road down a rabbit hole within Hollywood. It has enough humor and intrigue to get you hooked, but buyer beware, it has some darkness within it.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Strong foul language, Pervasive sex and nudity, Substance abuse, Violence and some gore
FAVORITE QUOTE: Maybe there’re people out there who are more important than us, more powerful and wealthier than us, that are communicating things and seeing things in the world that are meant only for them, and not for us?
Check out the trailer below:
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my reviews of American Psycho and Brightburn. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.
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This article has been updated from a previous version.
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