Under the Silver Lake ★★★★½

Where's the mystery that makes everything worthwhile?

When the credits rolled for Under the Silver Lake, I couldn't decide whether it was a pretentious mess of bile, or a work of sheer brilliance. After wrestling with it for a couple hours, I'm somewhere in the middle, but very much leaning towards that latter sentiment. Being fully honest within myself, I think I really, really loved this, and I was not prepared to feel that way about it, so that may explain the vague confusion within my mind towards it. This is the film for the poor unfortunate souls out there that love to overanalyze movies and any type of media surrounding their day-to-day lives. Looking for answers, meaning, or simply justification from any place possible.

Under the Silver Lake pokes at pretentiousness, but I believe it's the way it goes about the intrigue of mystery and analysis that won me over. Andrew Garfield, in his best performance yet, plays Sam, a shlubby yet still vaguely attractive guy living in the outskirts of Los Angeles. It's not an ugly area, but a place that perhaps lacks the sheen of Hollywood you come to expect from films focused on it. Through cases of murder involving a dog killer, a sea of attractive women, mysterious disappearances, and subliminal codes, Sam seeks answers. Without giving the various things that are revealed away, of which there is a lot, whatever epiphany Sam is seemingly looking for doesn't really happen. The higher powers that be are able to remain that higher power for a reason. For most of us, as much as we want to feel that we're special, we can't do much more than try to enjoy what's given to us. Making something out of not much of anything.

Though they couldn't be any more different, I think I love this and David Fincher's Zodiac for similar reasons. They're movies about the innate feeling to search for explanations behind everything. Even in the modern tech age of today, we can't know everything. "The Man" has to be hiding something from us. Right? Through allusions to Hitchcock and the various other great filmmaking individuals that came before, while all still having a feeling of genuine individuality, Under the Silver Lake is getting a mixed reception for perhaps good reasons, yet I find that often some of the great movies out there have to polarize at least at first. I wish A24 had more faith in this thing, but at least now it's here on VOD and Amazon Prime for hopefully some random filmbro or filmbra to put it on for fun and get taken on a wild ride. Might very well be an instant favorite, and I think it may only get better on a second viewing. 2019 is just a stellar movie year so far, isn't it?


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