Any movie that offers a Hitchcock-like mood has me intrigued. Under The Silver Lake is one such movie, but does it pull it off?
Set in an inward looking apartment block, the courtyard scene instantly plays homage to Rear Window. So too the lingering mood music and dulled lighting. There we met Sam (Andrew Garfield), an intelligent 33- year-old man with no clear direction in life, aside from sitting on his balcony spying on his neighbours. Sound familiar? This time however our protagonist is encumbered by boredom and alcohol, rather than a wheelchair. This makes him less endearing. So to his predilection for only spying on female neighbours.
One night on of those neighbours, Sarah (Riley Keough), takes a plunge in the apartments pool, swimming up to introduce herself to Sam. After spending the night Sam wakes to find her missing and her apartment completely empty. So begins a quest to find his mystery woman, a quest heightened by the fact Sam has just four days to pay his rent or be evicted.
Along the way the mystery deepens when a well-known businessman also goes missing and Los Angeles is gripped by a dog killer. Sam is “helped” by hidden messages in the media, a Hobo guidebook, a cereal box map, a comic book artist and his own paranoia.
Under The Silver Lake the movie, is one giant puzzle. A thriller full of twists and turns that offers some interesting commentary about modern day life. Are there subliminal messages being broadcast in entertainment (that might explain Married At First Sight)? I particularly liked the line “we crave mystery because there’s none left.”
I like a bit of quirk, a bit of dark, even a bit of messiness in a movie and I love a bit of Hitchcock. The sets looks great and the mood created by the lighting certainly aided the intrigue. The music was a delight, tapping into old Hitchcock style. And there were several parts in the movie that had the audience letting out a collective giggle. The quest and “tools” like the Hobo’s guidebook and use of symbols definitely had me wanting to take the rode to its completion. The use of black and white comic book imagery added to the dream-like state.
It has to be said however that sometimes the parts don’t add up to anything more than a collection of cool ideas. I found myself lagging in several parts. The pace would’ve been aided by a better edit. The Hitchcock gravestone seemed a bit disrespectful for the audience, who clearly understood the references. Most off putting was, I don’t mind open endings but this one doesn’t pay off for the amount of time I’d hung in there trying to get through the confusion.
Overall it was a case of Rear Window discovers sex.
5.5 Stars out of ten
Showing at Luna Cinema