David Robert Mitchell shook up the horror genre three years ago with “It Follows”. Now he’s going along UNDER THE SILVER LAKE follows in the footsteps of David Lynch and proves that you can still create a similar atmosphere today as the master once did with “Mulholland Drive”. We reveal more about this in our review.
The Plot Summary
Hollywood, Los Angeles. Even though his apartment rent is overdue, Sam (Andrew Garfield) has no ambition to find a job. He prefers to hang out on his balcony, read comics and watch the neighbors through binoculars. When the stunningly beautiful Sarah invites him over one evening, he can hardly believe his luck. But the next morning she disappeared without a trace. Sam senses a global conspiracy involving millionaires, celebrities, dog murderers and urban myths. His search for Sarah turns into an exhilarating odyssey through the opaque jungle of the big city.
Movie explanation of the ending
One-hit wonder or long-running hit – this question is usually answered by every director’s second work if they were lucky enough to have scored a direct hit with their debut. Things are a little different with David Robert Mitchell: His horror favorite “It Follows” was not his first film, but rather his second after “The Myth of the American Sleepover”. Still, the teen drama was so far removed from the public eye that Mitchell was treated like a newcomer to “It Follows.” Ultimately, similar expectations arose from ex-Spider-Man Andrew Garfield’s surrealist crime thriller scavenger hunt: Would the Michigan-born filmmaker be able to confirm his reputation as an equally unconventional and brilliant horror director a second time? The answer to this question is: No, because “Under The Silver Lake” is not a horror film. Instead, this time Mitchell goes wild on a completely different level, even if he stays true to the genre. At the Cannes Film Festival he received only cautious reactions. One of the core arguments that the auteur filmmaker is said to have overstepped this time: Despite the generous running time of 139 minutes, his film is simply too full. That’s true, but that’s exactly what makes the project so attractive.
Millicent Sevence (Callie Hernandez) and Sam (Andrew Garfield) meet at a party.
With around four million inhabitants, Los Angeles is not only one of the largest metropolises in the USA, but also due to its proximity to the Hollywood dream factory, there are also numerous myths and urban legends surrounding the “City of Angels”. The fact that David Robert Mitchell now takes up at least some of them in his crazy genre mix “Under The Silver Lake” does at least one thing justice: the city itself. In this respect, it is almost a must that sometimes you don’t know anything else here , which is what the core of the story is supposed to be about. The only constant is main character Sam; And he discovers the fascination of LA at least as haphazardly as the viewer. At the beginning, Mitchell doesn’t make it that easy to sympathize with this contemporary. Sam lives into the day. Instead of finally worrying about raising money for the long-overdue rent on his apartment, he prefers to spend the day ogling at the scantily clad bikini-clad girls from the neighborhood from his semi-dark terrace – with binoculars, of course! He regularly lays women down, he doesn’t have his heart set on them. He has a good girlfriend, but even with her he prefers to talk about banalities instead of dealing with the seriousness of life. When he falls in love with his beautiful neighbor, who simply disappears after an evening together, Sam throws himself into a wild, conspiracy theory-driven chase through Los Angeles – and the more the theories become entangled in contradictions, driving Sam to the brink of madness , the more entertaining it will be for the viewer; also because this Sam deserves a little to spin the wheel like that.
The fact that Sam gives himself more and more to his crude theories over time is not at all surprising, considering what David Robert Mitchell has in store for his protagonist. A naked woman wearing an owl mask breaks into the home of strangers at night, for whom this encounter will be the last in her life. A mysterious rock band called “Jesus & The Brides of Dracula” (!) supposedly hides messages in their songs that can only be deciphered by playing their records backwards. There is also a crazy dog killer who makes the streets unsafe at night, treasure maps in cornflakes packets that are said to still lead to real treasure even many years after the expiry date, and lots of symbols, numbers and bizarre people that Sam meets during his journey forays hits. Much of this is not new. The legend of hidden in songs Hidden messages is just as well known as the conspiracy theory that the top ten thousand in our society know much more than the common people. From this concentrated collection, however, in which various theories can sometimes be bundled together to form an even larger idea, the viewer is presented with a sophisticated kaleidoscope of ignorance, which – at least for the two and a quarter hour running length, which is a little sprawling here and there of the film – until at some point you start to believe that maybe this Sam isn’t so wrong after all.
Where is Sarah (Riley Keough)?
The whole thing is supported by a gripping direction, in whose service cameraman Mike Gioulakis and composer Rich Vreeland (the two already supported Mitchell on “It Follows”) are fully committed and with the help of their images and sounds the surrealistic feeling of “Under The Silver Lake” again. But without Andrew Garfield’s wonderfully otherworldly (and therefore always hilarious) acting, “Under The Silver Lake” would only work half as well. The mime, who shows a completely different side in films such as “Hacksaw Ridge”, “Silence” and “As Long as I Breathe”, presents facets of his acting skills that could not be further from his former image of the teen star. Stars like Riley Keough appear next to him (“The House That Jack Built”) and Callie Hernandez (“Alien: Covenant”) especially from its opaque side. In “Under The Silver Lake” you shouldn’t trust anyone at first. This also applies to the plot, which is littered with pop culture references, because even if it always seems to be rooted in the here and now, David Robert Mitchell tightens the surrealistic tension screw with the help of dream sequences and delusions so that the story is staged (and also narratively? ) becomes more and more distant from reality. It’s just a shame that the makers decide to clarify the events behind the scenes. In the end, there are still enough questions left unanswered that one can have fun with in terms of interpretation (What was the parrot actually babbling all that time?), but the great mystery is becoming more and more demystified over time. And the resolution as such is unfortunately not the greatest success.
Conclusion: In “Under The Silver Lake” Andrew Garfield follows in the footsteps of David Lynch’s “Mullholland Drive”. David Robert Mitchell’s scavenger hunt through Los Angeles presents itself as a hodgepodge of all sorts of conspiracy theories that the “It Follows” director didn’t necessarily have to solve. His grippingly staged mystery adventure also knows how to entertain quite well.
“Under The Silver Lake” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from December 6th.