‘Under the Silver Lake’ review: Paranoir

“Under The Silver Lake” had a hard time getting distributed and released, and after seeing it, I understand why. It’s a languid 1970s noir with a paranoid 2018 spirit, with touches of “Inherent Vice,” “Mulholland Drive” and “The Big Lebowski” thrown in. How do you market that? No wonder the trailer just features jokes from Andrew Garfield and Topher Grace.

David Robert Mitchell (“It Follows”) directs Garfield in this tale of Nice Guy Slacker meets Girl, Girl mysteriously disappears, Nice Guy Slacker takes it upon himself to become her White Knight and find her. Slacker’s journey takes him all over L.A. as he tries to piece together all of the clues and secret codes that may or may not exist in everyday life, from billboards to magazines to secret messages in music.

This review originally appeared in my newsletter, Jacob’s Letter. Subscribe here for a weekly dose of pop culture news!

Garfield’s performance here is one of his best, lazy one second and then hyper-aware the next, and always vacillating between likable and downright awful. Watching him slip into paranoia is a sight to see.

I’m going to need another viewing or two to fully understand what this movie is going for, because it doesn’t want to be understood. I think that’s the point. It seems like Mitchell, after seeing the levels of Reddit theorizing that came in the wake of “It Follows,” deliberately crafted a movie where the type of Reddit Bro who could connect that movie with, like, the Cuban Missile Crisis or something, is the protagonist. In the end, the answers don’t matter, because the bigger question this is asking is as old as time itself: Why do we need to find meaning in every little thing?

So basically, I loved it. Wonder what a double feature with this and “Bad Times at the El Royale” would look like…

My rating: 5 Nintendo Power magazines out of 5

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