Under The Silver Lake

Lost in L.A.

Film. David Gordon Mitchell’s Under The Silver Lake (It Follows) is our big disappointment at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. If we do not remove anything from what we were able to write then, the torpor of summer would push us to be a little less severe with this lysergic and baroque UFO. Explanations.

By Jacques Braunstein

While spending his time at the terrace of his residence, Sam (Andrew Garfield) ends up seeing Sarah (Riley Keough), a gorgeous neighbor which makes a difference among this univers of disapproved hollywood people. As soon as he met her, she disappears. He starts looking for her in all the hipsters neighborhoods of Silver Lake and Griffith Park.

Under The Silver Lake is part of a great tradition of weird movies about Los Angeles and its smokescreen. Tradition that goes from The Big Sleep to Inherent Vice, and this last years from Southland Tales to Maps To The Stars

David Robert Mitchell, 44 years old, director of the critically acclaimed movies The Myth of the American Sleepover and It Follows wanted to put everything in his first movie presented at the Cannes official selection. This is a big washing machine… As if David Lynch (Mulholland Drive) had written a script, Joel and Ethan Coen (The Big Lebowski) had shot it, and Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction) had edited it… but without having concerted themselves. Each plan, each replica is overloaded of pop-cultural references : 80s video games, fanzines, Kurt Cobain, Harvey Weinstein, old Playboy magazines, Manson family, Jesus, vampires, hobos, gothic rock, acid, Phil Spector, mut cinema, The Black Dahlia…

When a woman tells Sam that she likes his t-shirt, this is actually the only time he is wearing a white one. As if, within this labyrinth of signs, it was the biggest originality to wear none.

Andrew Garfield, not really inspired et constantly dazed without knowing why and by what, goes from place to place, but his investigation does not seem to work out. We wander from a scene to another in a kind of lysergic fog but still pleasant. Then in the second part of the film, the all audience let herself sink in a slight torpor. Spectators leave without really applauding, nor whistling. Dazzled but not angry. No doubt a new generation of cinema lovers will watch endlessly Under The Silver Lake to hunt the clues that saturate each image. Even that the movie gets a price for the paradoxal but still defendable scenario. Or that another David Robert Mitchell will try to make an even more complicated movie, and why not. Los Angeles has not finish giving birth to these kind of movies written by people working twelve hours a day inventing adventures about what they would have become if it hadn’t worked for them. It is not the American dream’s “behind the scenes” but the upside down version of the American dream.