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Under The Silver Lake


‘…sprawling, obscure, obnoxious and deliberately alienating. But if you’re prepared to try something a little off-menu, there’s a lot to enjoy here…’

Maybe it’s the influence of the new Batman movie, but it seems to be a weekend for watching the detectives. Andrew Garfield initially struggled to make a name for himself outside of his abortive stab at being Spiderman; his let-it-all-hang-out performance as a sex-starved stoner in this comedy/thriller from David Robert Mitchell (It Follows) helped turn things around and led directly to his remarkable 2022 comeback.  

In Under The Silver Lake Garfield plays conspiracy-theory loving slacker Sam, who bums around his LA apartment until the mysterious Sarah (Riley Keough) moves in next door. She vanishes, leaving Sam to attempt to track her down while also looking into the case of the mysterious Dog Killer who is murdering local pooches. Sam’s investigation is unsurprisingly shambolic, and digs up various bits of sordid ephemera including strange video games, prostitution rings and underground communities.  

Characters with names like the Owl Woman and the Homeless King suggest some kind of David Lynch netherworld, and that’s what Under The Silver Lake aims for; sprawling, obscure, obnoxious and deliberately alienating. But if you’re prepared to try something a little off-menu, there’s a lot to enjoy here, notably the creation of dark LA lore of interest to any fans of the city’s Gothic side.  

Like Southland Tales, it’s likely to gain a cult following, and Mitchell’s film deserves a second chance.This UK DVD release has a Q and A with Garfield, but also two featurettes, Beautiful Specter and What Lies Beneath The Silver Lake which give a tantalising glimpse of the impacted layers the film-makers have created here.


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      • Ugh. I hope I’m on the right blog. This was the movie review site with the running Boba Fett joke for a few reviews, right?

        • Oh yes, we’re no stranger to Mr Fett. I’m not sure why this got started, but it seems to be a thing to gratuitously mention Boba in my comments, so you’re in good company!

          • Gratuitous and “don’t encourage” such behavior is my middle name — as are all members of Aurra Sing’s retched hive of scum and villainy.

            • People will think you’re Boba Fett now. Commenters are accused with singular frequency.

  1. Always have room for a cult film, which are strangely thin on the ground these days. Access denied used to guarantee a film a stab at cult, rare appearance stirring up interest, but I’m not sure that works so much these days.

  2. It Follows is one of my all time favorite horror movie. You might have noticed it was my 10th favorite movie of all time. Which is why I was so disappointed when I saw Under the Silver Lake. I highly anticipated the movie ever since I first heard about it. Every time it was delayed I got mad, because I really wanted to see what David Robert Mitchell had as a follow up (no pun intended). I felt like Under the Silver Lake was just too weird for its own good. Not to mention offensive and uncomfortable at times. I felt like Mitchell had a free pass to do whatever he wanted no questions asked. It works for some filmmakers, but not always. I know people who say I should give it another chance to read the subtext, but I’d prefer not to. I just hope that if It Follows 2 were ever made, it wouldn’t be influenced by this.

    • I hear you, and I get it; this is such an undisciplined film, it’s hard to believe it’s the same guy in control. Butit all works better on a second watch, if you’re set up for a sprawling, meandering, all-over the shop shaggy dog story, it delivers in a way….

    • Liking forward to my third watch. An extremely odd and offbeat film, if you can handle the idea, it’s worth seeking out…

      • Oh, you have to do three times. There’s so much going on. You see something new each time. The set design is out of this world.

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