Under the Silver Lake ★★★½

Was getting lunch and thought that I haven't gone to the movies in a long time and that sitting in a room alone sounded like fun and then I saw that Under the Silver Lake was playing, this movie originally being my most anticipated movie of whatever year it was first supposed to come out, an excitement greatly dampened by pushed release dates, middling to negative reviews, and finally a local release that I never even realized had happened.

If you were within three miles of my letterboxd account in 2014, you certainly know that I adored It Follows. I boarded the hype train and I boarded it hard, to where even considering the kinda-ridiculous praise the movie got, I'm probably still one of its absolute biggest fans. Then to find that after giving me an all-timer in my favorite genre, director David Robert Mitchell was going to make a paranoia-conspiracy mystery? (If you were within three miles of my letterboxd account in 2014/still today, you certainly know that I adore the paranoia-conspiracy mystery Inherent Vice—probably a top five or so favorite—with which this seemed, at least on the surface, to share a thread or two of DNA)

I liked it, but I think I liked it the least amount possible considering that this is a movie kind of tailor-made for me (cults, paranoia, classic cinema, noir, impenetrable narratives, useless protagonists, lonely bastard cinema, voyeurism, it's like a fuckin checklist of almost all the dumb bullshit I love in movies, missing only, like, a 3rd act turn into slasher territory to be everything I love in the world). I can't explain why, especially when there are parts of this—scenes, images, ideas, technique—that I found so exciting and interesting and rich, but then they're wrapped in this larger package that feels loose and soggy. It'll take more watches for sure because, whereas I feel like I kind of "got" what I thought DRM was doing with It Follows the first time around, Under the Silver Lake is more...I'm not sure. Not "complex," really, but kind of self-consciously obtuse. Which is both the most engaging and most frustrating thing about this. I enjoyed my time under the silver lake and all but I'm not sure I buy all of it.

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