Under Silver Lake

Under Silver Lake is going to be a hard one to recommend.

It’s too long, doesn’t go anywhere and at times seems to be actively frustrating the audience.

I liked Under Silver Lake.

If you liked Once Upon a Time In Hollywood, then you might like this. Under Silver Lake might be an interesting companion piece. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is a nostalgic look back whereas Under Silver Lake is after the fall.

Under Silver Lake

It Follows, for my money is one of the best horror films of the last couple of years. It’s by no means a perfect film. It Follows has one of the best first halves of a movie that I’ve ever watched, it was tough to keep up the momentum. It’s well worth a watch. If you can make something like people walking towards the camera creepy, you’ve got skill.

It Follows is the reason why I was interested in director David Robert Mitchell’s next movie. The movie, Under Silver Lake.

Going to be honest, the trailer put me off. Andrew Garfield as a stoner detective in LA. It’s nothing new. Reminds you of Altman’s The Long Goodbye and other quirk-noir like Zero Effect and Brick.

I put a pin in Under Silver Lake and didn’t seek it out.

In fact, I got Richard Kelly vibes from the director, and I’m not the only person to notice this.

Didn’t take much note of the film until I watched the Red Letter Media Review of the film.

They made it sound like it was ideas thrown at the wall and seeing what stuck.

Then upon watching it, that’s what the film is.

It’s a bunch of shit.

A bunch of shit

That’s not to say it’s necessarily a bad thing. There are some films I love that are just a bunch of shit. Ace Ventura When Nature Calls is just a bunch of shit, then it ends.

By a bunch of shit I mean there are scenes that the filmmakers thought were good. If you ever find yourself asking “Wait, how did we get here?” during a film, it’s highly likely you’re watching a bunch of shit. How much enjoyment you get depends on how much you like these scenes.

In the case of Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, I did not. In the case of Under Silver Lake, I did.

Enjoyed might be too generous.

There were enough ideas in Under Silver Lake that kept me amused.

I’m going to say spoilers for Under Silver Lake here.

The film had ambled on for about an hour or so, and I wasn’t bored. There were none of the telltale signs of being disengaged. I hadn’t looked at my phone being one, and I didn’t pause it to see how much longer was left.

I was wondering where the heck the film was going? The film was still introducing new ideas. This led me to understand that Under Silver Lake wasn’t going to answer any of the questions it raised.

Under Silver Lake is about in no particular order:

  • Male entitlement
  • The sacrificial nature of celebrity
  • Disposability in pop culture
  • The fall of Hollywood
  • Cults
  • The divide of rich and poor
  • Animals are given more concern than people
  • Coded messages hiding in the open
  • Music as a means of control

If any of those are aspects that interest you, then you might enjoy Under Silver Lake. However don’t expect it to say too much about it aside from, “This is a thing”.

Again I liked it, I don’t know if I will ever watch it again. It’s still ticking over in my mind.

Deep or dumb?

The Inbetweeners Movie has a scene were the stupid character says that he stopped being religious once he worked out that God was dog backwards.

That is my shorthand to describe someone who believes themselves as “deep”.

The first shot of Under Silver Lake is “Dog” written on a window as viewed from the other side.

Does that tell you all you need to know?

Is Under Silver Lake deep or dumb? I haven’t made up my mind. It reminded me of Sorry To Bother You, I liked the ideas it brought to mind more than the film itself.


If you’re in the UK, you can watch Under Silver Lake as part of your trial period with Mubi. It’s a hard film to track down, and it feels like A24 has buried it and tried to forget it happened.

Hopefully, this isn’t the last that we hear of David Robert Mitchell. I’d like him to get the opportunity to redeem himself after this. Something laser-focused and under two hours would go down a treat.

Check out Under Silver Lake but consider yourself warned.

You might hate it.

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