Thomas’s review published on Letterboxd:
For this entire summer I’ve been incredibly excited for this movie. I really enjoyed David Robert Mitchell's previous film, It Follows and this one looked like the perfect summer film. As you can see by my rating, I clearly wasn’t disappointed, however it’s a movie I still need to think about a bit more. I absolutely loved the experience of watching this movie, I was incredibly engaged and constantly paying attention, trying to catch all the symbolism, codes and hidden messages. The movie is a whole lot of fun and it’s also just really funny. It has an awesome film noir soundtrack and it’s also just full of references to old film noir movies, down from the use of crossfading to transition from one scene to the other, which has an incredibly charming effect. It’s a movie I honestly wanted to go on forever because I enjoyed the journey so much, despite it not being wrapped up in a neat little bow. I had no idea where the story was going and where it actually winded up going to was completely batshit insane in the best way possible. The ending however, was a very calm conclusion to this acid trip. What this movie reminded me most of wasn't Inherent Vice, David Lynch or any other crazy mystery movie. It reminded me of one of my new favourite albums, Pure Comedy by Josh Tillman, under the pseudonym Father John Misty.
Pure Comedy is an album I had put off for quite a while. I’ve always enjoyed the first half of the album quite a lot, but only this summer did I decide to listen to the entire in one go, about 5 times. I absolutely loved it, I thought it was thought-provoking, catchy and just a really engaging listening experience. What probably struck me the most about it were two lines in particular: ‘I hate to say it, but each other’s all we've got.’ and ‘There's nothing to fear.’
The latter being the last line of the album. I feel like these two lines from Pure Comedy define this movie. Under the Silver Lake is about our current conspiracy theory-obsessed paranoid society, how we're manipulated by media, how we're raised to be clueless about all the secrets from the world. This movie is about how we're all told to have fun, do drugs, have sex and not think about what's happening around us. We get everything we want from the internet and take pleasure in spying on strangers. We're full of lust and don't think about if what we're doing is right. However, at the same time we still are the most intelligent creatures on earth, and we can also feel regret and see our mistakes. And sometimes, in these quiet moments, we start to think about all our life choices and where we are now and wonder where did it all go wrong? Did it all go wrong? Do I like where I am right now? L.A. is the home of ambition and dreams, but also the home of paranoia and sorrow. L.A. is the human condition in this film. Nothing can be trusted, codes and secret messages are everywhere, what are they hiding from us? Do our lives actually have meaning, do we have a purpose, is there more to this human experience than we think there is? Maybe. Maybe everything we theorize about is true. Maybe we have the right to be so paranoid about everything. But maybe, it just doesn't matter in the long run.
The main character in this film goes on a long journey to uncover “the truth”. He needs to find meaning in his life, he needs to uncover the biggest mystery of his life. No one believes his insane conspiracy theories, and why should they? He's a paranoid stinking perverse unemployed asshole that inflicts violence on others as a result of his paranoia. But at the same time, he's only human like the rest of us. He has his ambitions and a genuine desire for love, despite his seemingly constant need for sex and the woman body in general. The paranoid journey he takes is one filled with sex, drugs and violence. It's exciting, but also scary. The closer you get to uncovering the truth, the more in danger your life becomes. Cruel actions take place for unknown reasons, and those reasons will remain unknown. The world is a mess, that's just how it is. People are messy, they make bad decisions they can't reverse. But whatever, lets just try to have a great time while we're still here and not think about it. The world is full of dangers and mysteries that the Silver Lake hides from us. At some point however, you just have to accept that you will never find the answer to everything, and that you don't need to. We’re only here for a little while, let's enjoy the parties, lets enjoy our bodies, let's find love. Let's try to become better people. Each other’s all we've got. There's nothing to fear.