Film Review: Under The Silver Lake

David Robert Mitchell’s Under The Silver Lake is enigmatic and compelling. Mitchell surpasses It Follows with  some outstanding filmmaking.

Sam notices a mysterious woman swimming in his apartment complex’s pool. When she goes missing, Sam embarks on a quest to discover what happened to her…

Under The Silver Lake is an engrossing mystery. For the first quarter of the film, writer-director David Robert Mitchell throws quite a bit at the audience. This includes the dog killer, the missing billionaire, and the voyeurism of the protagonist. The combination of real and imagined keeps viewers guessing.

Exposition through news reports works well to give necessary details in a succinct manner. The Comic Man brings these conspiracy elements together, propelling Sam to continue his mission. Sam functions as a detective, tracking down clues to solve the mystery. The obsession of the protagonist deepens as Under The Silver Lake progresses. Viewers will wonder where exactly the film is going. The cast of characters are enigmatic, with unusual tics. Yet none feel out of place in this bizarre world Mitchell has created. The dialogue is great; Sam’s monologues are always interesting, and often amusing. 

There are various elements in the film that hark back to other filmmakers. A Hitchcockian influence pervades the film (with the initial voyeurism reminiscent of Rear Window). Influences from David Lynch and the Coen Brothers are also present. Under The Silver Lake is very much a Hollywood film, in more than just setting. The seediness of the backdrop is palpable. References to both films and the strangeness of the city are abundant. 

The discussion on mystery that takes place is the film in a nutshell. Mitchell focuses on pop culture, questioning its dispensability and its meaning. As the film progresses, the themes become more encompassing. Mitchell gives the audience plenty to ponder. 

Camerawork in the film is great. Mitchell mixes long shots with quick zooms. The rapid, fluid camerawork is offset by more laconic shots. Cinematographer Mike Gioulakis frames some very picturesque shots. Nighttime and day time have distinct feels, capturing the idea that the city comes alive at night. The animated sequence going inside the comic book is a great device. Feels natural, despite a sudden mix of live action into animation. 

The score at times echoes the great Bernard Herrmann. The traditional score is a good contrast with the contemporary diegetic music. Older songs and presence of other archaic aspects give the film a period feel, although this is not explicit. Andrew Garfield delivers a compelling performance as Sam. Often acting alone, Garfield is energetic and always convincing. Grace Van Patten and Jeremy Bobb are good in minor roles.

Engaging, ambitious, and mesmerising, Mitchell’s neo-noir mystery is one of the year’s best pictures.

Under The Silver Lake will be released in DVD and Blu-ray in the UK on 26th August 2019.

Previews: Hellboy Trailer, Pain and Glory, More!

A profusion of films in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the new Hellboy trailer, Pain and Glory, Mid90s and more…

Hellboy Trailer

Above is the brand new Hellboy trailer. The film is set in England, where the title character has to take on an ancient sorceress. Hellboy stars David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, Daniel Dae Kim, and Sasha Lane. The film hits UK screens on 11th April 2019.

Pain and Glory Trailer

Pain and Glory is the latest film from Pedro Almodóvar. The veteran filmmaker’s latest is about a film director in decline as he experiences a number of encounters from his past. With a cast that includes Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz, Pain and Glory will be released in UK cinemas on 23rd August 2019.

Little Trailer

Here is the trailer for Little. The film is a reversal of the Big/13 Going on 30 bodyswap comedy, with the adult being the one who returns to childhood. Little is based on an idea by Marsai Martin, who stars alongside Regina Hall and Issa Rae. The film is directed by Tina Gordon, with a screenplay by Tracy Oliver and Gordon. Little is out at UK cinemas on 12th April 2019.

Rocketman Trailer

Taron Egerton plays Elton John in this new Rocketman trailer. Directed by Dexter Fletcher, the film is a biopic of the legendary singer. Egerton has recorded some of Elton John’s most famous songs for the film, which counts John among the executive producers. Rocketman will hit UK cinemas in May 2019.

Mid90s Trailer

Here is the trailer for Jonah Hill’s directorial debut Mid90s. Hill also wrote the film, which is a coming of age tale about a young boy in 1990s Los Angeles. The film stars Sunny Suljic, Katherine Waterston, and Lucas Hedges. Mid90s will be released on UK screens on 12th April 2019.

The Curse of La Llorona Poster

The Curse of La Llorona is a new horror about a weeping woman caught between heaven and hell. The film counts James Wan among its producers, and is the directorial debut of Michael Chaves. The Curse of La Llorona is set for release on 3rd May 2019.

Lords of Chaos Trailer

Lords of Chaos has been getting rave reviews, as well as some notoriety for how graphic it is. The film tells the semi-true story of the birth of Norwegian black metal with the band Mayhem. Starring Rory Culkin, Emory Cohen, and Sky Ferreira, Lords of Chaos will hit UK screens on 29th March 2019.

Under the Silver Lake Trailer

Under The Silver Lake is the new film from writer-director David Robert Mitchell (It Follows). The film stars Andrew Garfield and Riley Keough. The film is a neo-noir about a man who discovers a mysterious woman swimming in his apartment complex’s pool. Under the Silver Lake will be released at cinemas and on Mubi from 15th March 2019.