Under The Silver Lake: A Knock Back For A24 | Review

by - Wednesday, March 13, 2019


Under The Silver Lake is a film I fear I'd have to see twice to fully wrap my head around and I say fear because I'm not sure I want to uncover the secrets of Andrew Garfield's disturbing performance as Sam, a man who is wrapped up in the mystery of the disappearance of a girl who has gone missing from his apartment complex.

La La Land meets My Friend Dahmer in this bizarre 140 minute character exploration of a self obsessed narcissist mixed up in a world of conspiracy theories and old Hollywood surrealism. It doesn't utilise the glamour of 20s-30s cinema the way La La Land does so well and it doesn't explore the characters flaws with the same sensitivity of My Friend Dahmer.

The entire driving force of Sam's expedition is down to lust which is pretty much his defining characteristic. David Robert Mitchell displays this graphically through the repeated point of view shots from Sam's perspective of various parts of women's bodies. I tried to take a feminist spin on the narrative halfway through where Sam shows up to a secret party which is seemingly a female only space and I considered that maybe the director was exploring the way men take over in spaces that belong to women but then something mildly sexist would happen and I stripped back any ounce of forgiving attitude I had towards it. I think the only way you slightly forgive Sam for his behaviour at points is the fact Andrew Garfield is playing him and this is such a leap from his usual likeable characters we are used to seeing him play, the best part of the film was watching him step outside his comfort zone as a performer.

I will give Under The Silver Lake its credit for pursuing contemporary ideas, although the use of conspiracy theories were a little outdated. They might serve entertainment for somebody who perhaps is yet to hear them but as someone who has heard of the aforementioned theories, instead of being something recognisable they felt somewhat patronising. I was expecting a reveal of subliminal messages planted throughout the narrative by the end and was hoping that'd tie up the loose ends but since it did not do that, I was left feeling a little confused.

A24 is a go to for me when it comes to incredibly fresh and contemporary narratives. Some of their most recent successes such as Lady Bird, 20th Century Women, Moonlight, Eighth Grade and many more have made their way into my list of favourites and yet I just cannot get on board with Under The Silver Lake. It feels like a knock back in their ethos of progressiveness and inclusion.



Under The Silver Lake creeps into UK Cinemas March 15th 2019.

Until next time











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