UNDER THE SILVER LAKE: A Total Mind Fuck

If DONNIE DARKO’s Richard Kelly had sex with Gregg Araki while Bret Easton Ellis watched while sipping absinth with Hunter S Thompson UNDER THE SILVER LAKE is the film baby that would appear nine months later if any of them could birth babies.

The third feature film from David Robert Mitchell, who brought us the superb IT FOLLOWS in 2014, comes UNDER THE SILVER LAKE. A somewhat indulgent, make whatever-the-fuck-you-want kind of film. You are going to join a cult of worship for this movie, or you will put it in the cinematic abortion bucket with SOUTHLAND TALES.

It is out now on an astoundingly small arthouse run of about one cinema screen per state in Australia. Umbrella Films has released UNDER THE SILVER LAKE, it is rated MA15+, runs for 139mins and for cinemas screening it – click HERE.

Under the Silver Lake Andrew Garfield
Andrew Garfield

BY JASON KING

UNDER THE SILVER LAKE SYNOPSIS:

Sam (Andrew Garfield) is a disenchanted 33 year old who discovers a mysterious woman, Sarah (Riley Keough), frolicking in his apartment’s swimming pool. When she vanishes, Sam embarks on a surreal quest across Los Angeles to decode the secret behind her disappearance, leading him into the murkiest depths of mystery, scandal, and conspiracy in the City of Angels.

From writer-director David Robert Mitchell comes a sprawling and unexpected mind screwing detective thriller about the California Dream Factory and its denizens – dog killers, aspiring actors, glitter-pop groups, nightlife personalities, It girls, memorabilia hoarders, masked seductresses, homeless guru Kings, reclusive songwriters, sex workers, wealthy socialites, topless neighbours, and the shadowy billionaires floating above (and underneath) it all.

Under the Silver Lake Grace Van Patten
Grace Van Patten

THIS FILM WILL DESTROY YOUR BRAIN CELLS:

I think the best course of action when watching this 80s/90s LA drug culture mind fuck is to not try and work it out. It’s modern film acid-noir that puts in endless amounts of secret codes and paths that could hold meaning but a lot of it will be left unresolved and add more confusion to the mix.

There is lots of boobs and nudity and an entire subplot on a dog killer that I am completely unsure if it holds any relevance whatsoever but it’s a lot of fun. They placed one too many references to Garfield once being Spider-Man but they were still funny.

Be prepared for paranoid conspiracy theories to the hills and back. They are fun to follow but mostly go nowhere. There have been so many conspiracy theories floating around about the underground evil of Hollywood and this kind of pop-culturally brings them to light but makes them a little too crazy to hold any form of accountability. I mean – the elite Hollywood types are embracing a self-induced death in the style of Pharaohs with their own collection of sexy women because they think it is a path to enlightenment and leaving this morbid world we all inhabit.

The soundtrack – just sublime. Most of it is score written and performed by Michael Turner and Mark Ullrich with a wonderfully placed REM song, “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth? ” and an appropriately titled Mindfuk by Rocboi. It keeps the film moving along with a wonderful beat.

Under the Silver Lake Andrew Garfield
Andrew Garfield

ANDREW GARFIELD IS A GIANT CREEP AND ALSO BRILLIANT:

Garfield totally owns UNDER THE SILVER LAKE – his geeky awkwardness comes to the front and he will make you laugh many times. Mostly every time he runs haha, his quirky run in this movie is almost a character in itself. He really is an unlikable character. He’s about to be evicted but doesn’t give a shit about it, his car has been repossessed and graffitied by young children he has no problem punching in the face and he isn’t do anything to seek employment.

He is a wonderful example of millennial stoners, a somewhat tranquilised Alice down the Rabbit Hole of Hollywood craziness. He does quirky to perfection and while his character is a total pain in the ass reject-of-society you can’t help but following him down the rabbit hole.

Riley Keough, Jimmi Simpson and Topher Grace are the only other people I really knew and both had fairly small inconsequential parts. There are a few recognisable faces but this is a trippy journey movie, most people have a scene or two and then vanish.

Under The Silver Lake Barking Girls
Barking Girls

IN CONCLUSION:

If you love insanity on films that barely make sense but are a quirky acid-noir trip then UNDER THE SILVER LAKE is a film for you. Heavy on inspiration from Gregg Araki, Bret Easton Ellis and Richard Kelly this Andrew Garfield film is definitely something that needs to be seen to be believed. I thoroughly enjoyed it because I love Garfield and the film deserves kudos purely on its certifiable ambitions.

YOUR CRITIC:

Jason King owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the Australian movie industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.