Originally Posted On Letterboxd in July 2018 as part of Fantasia 2018 Coverage
Calling David Robert Mitchell’s Under The Silver Lake just a “movie” is an insult to the cinematic medium itself. Under the Silver Lake is best expressed as an experience, something so odd and visually stimulating that will overwhelm you to your very core. I laughed, I shivered, I always felt emotionally invested in the film.
At the center of all of it’s absurd madness, from neurotic zine writers to lavish christian pop bands, the film has quite a lot to say about fragile male ego’s. The protagonist Sam, brilliantly performed by Andrew Garfield, is an anti-hero of sorts, He’s a misogynistic ass hole who runs on bigoted classism as his endgame. Sam’s character is essentially a portrayal of modern america’s hate and prejudice, a character void of empathy and care.
The extreme party life of LA is energetic and intoxicating, but along side all of it’s loud ambient tones and livid colors, Sam’s stoner rage plays with little to no direction. The party life overshadows his decisions, resulting in simultaneous sporadic results which are infinitely entertaining to observe, while also developing and unfolding his pathetic abusive behavior. With this said, Under the Silver Lake never takes itself to seriously, which makes room for plenty of surrealist absurdist comedy. Because of this absurdist comedic route, I do personally believe that the film went a bit to overboard with a few too many gruesome shots (that only served for shock value) and repetitive subplots (which felt stale after just five minutes in).
Under The Silver Lake is a cult classic waiting to happen. While it does get a bit too over top, resulting in an unfocused and derivative pace, the film was always engaging and never lost focus on what it wanted to say. It’s a film about class, privilege, and ego’s that works incredibly well due to it’s inventive direction. Thank you David Robert Mitchell for making this trippy fucking film!
A24 Will Release Under The Silver Lake on December 7th, 2018