Under the Silver Lake (2018)

Under the Silver Lake
Director: David Robert Mitchell
Writer: David Robert Mitchell
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Riley Keough, Deborah Geffner, Riki Lindhome, Wendy Vanden Heuvel, Chris Gann, Callie Hernandez, Jessica Makinson, Topher Grace, Jimmi Simpson
Seen on: 20.2.2019

Content Note: sexism

Sam (Andrew Garfield) spends his days in a daze as much as he can. Disillusioned, he doesn’t have goals or plans. One night, he watches his new neighbor Sarah (Riley Keough) as she swims in the pool. She catches him staring and invites him along. They have a nice time together and set a date for the next day – but then Sarah and her roommates are just gone. Sam believes that something more than a simple move is going on and starts to investigate. But nothing could prepare him for what he uncovers.

I won tickets to see Under the Silver Lake, and I am so fucking glad I didn’t actually spend money on this fucking film. It was so incredible exhausting and bad – an unfortunate attempt to emulate Lynch and failing incredibly hard at it. I hated it.

The film poster showing a woman in a bikini in water. At the bottom of the water are palm trees.

Many films have moments of the male gaze or are very obviously made from a male perspective (in the heteronormative sense). But I have rarely seen a film that is so obviously made by (cishet) men and with nothing but (cishet) men in mind and is such a wishfulfilment fantasy. As a woman / not a cishet man it was impossible not to get alienated by all of this. There were breasts everywhere (and I like breasts, that is not the problem) and all the women fell over themselves to go after Sam – who has no charm, practically no personality and poor personal hygiene. I don’t get it. At all.

Plus, the mystery at the core of the film – Sarah’s disappearance – was so quintessentially the old trope of “women are a puzzle for men to solve” that I couldn’t roll my eyes as much as I needed to to express my deep, deep annoyance with everything that is happening here, let alone actually take an interest in the events.

Sarah (Riley Keough) holding on to the edge of the pool, smiling.

It is pretty obvious that it tried to go for a Lynchian-Mulholland Drive kind of vibe, but it didn’t manage to conjure up even a smidge of the atmosphere to make a film that is that strange work. That means it just was annoying – and way too long.

The film does have a nice soundtrack and I did enjoy the Spiderman reference, but at the end of it, I was just glad it was over. Since I also didn’t like Mitchell’s previous film It Follows, that was probably it for me and his films.

Sam (Andrew Garfield) lying in a graveyard.

Summarizing: No. Just no. Go away.

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