Under the Silver Lake (2019)

Every so often a movie crosses my path that just leaves me baffled, and this is certainly one of those movies. From the writer/director of It Follows (which now seems like the odd movie out of his filmography), we have Andrew “the second Spider-Man” Garfield as Sam in a neo-noir, conspiracy thriller about… um…

Huh. I’m not really sure what this movie is about.

I mean, I can parse together what the movie wanted to be about. It’s about the secret billionaire elites, living a life so far removed from our day to day drudgery that they’re practically gods. It’s about the secret communications they leave for one another in plain sight, safe in the knowledge that we’re too dumb to discover their secrets. It’s about a dog murderer who… shit, no, that plot thread never did pay off.

Really, it’s about the naked owl lady that will sneak into your house and murder you in your sleep. Obviously.

So yeah, it’s a fucking weird movie. The main draw is the ridiculous cast of characters, from the nameless topless neighbor with a parrot that keeps shouting an incomprehensible phrase (the internet is torn on what it says but the general consensus of Movie Night was that it was meant to remain a mystery) to an also nameless conspiracy theorist played by Patrick Fischler (playing a similar character as the one he played in Mulholland Drive, which breaks the sacred rule of “don’t remind your audience of a better movie”). Man, most of the character in this are actually nameless… The dead billionaire gets a name, as does his daughter who certainly existed, and uh… Jesus! The lead singer of Jesus and the Brides of Dracula had a name! Sure, it’s probably not his real name, and the Brides didn’t get any names, but, um… Can we count the Homeless King?

I’m still unsure how I feel about the movie. It’s not bad, per say, but it tries so many different things and has so many plot threads that don’t really go anywhere that I can’t call it “good.” If you want to see a neo-noir that actually works, check out Rian Johnson’s Brick (and if you recoiled at seeing his name, we’re not gonna get along). Or, hell, just watch Mulholland Drive.

Also, Sam was totally the dog killer, right? I know it’s probably left vague–most likely intentionally–but… why else was he dreaming about women barking at him? Why else would he ACTUALLY have dog biscuits on him? What was the point of bringing up the old movie star who hated dogs and killed himself? Why, out of everything in this bizarre movie, is that the thing that haunts me the most?


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