Under the Silver Lake ★★½

With a heavy dose of Lynchian surrealism and Hitchcockian suspense, Under the Silver Lake eventually makes itself to be less interesting than when it started. It’s a stylish but pretentious and vapid neo-noir that neither pays homage to early Hollywood films of its genre nor did it leave an impact on me. It contains an uninspired narrative that is unfocused in its meaning, an unlikable protagonist, an inappropriate use of over-the-top noir music, and a needless use of surrealism and objectification of women. 

But while its mystery slowly unfolds in a manner that arouses our curiosity and fills us with the paranoia felt by its protagonist (Andrew Garfield at least gives a memorable performance), it is all hampered by an anticlimactic ending that amounts to nothing. It can’t decide if it wants to be a mystery or if it wants to be a satire.

But . . .

Every complaint I have is justified by the film's themes. Modern L.A. is pretentious. The film incorporates an exaggerated noir score to imitate old-fashioned Hollywood films even when there is no use. And people try to fill the voids of their hedonistic existences with whatever they can find, puzzles and mysterious girls in the protagonist's case. Under the Silver Lake is a product of its criticisms, and although it never rises above them to convey something more profound, enriching, or powerful, it is better than the average blockbuster.

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