The Initial release for David Robert Mitchell's "Under the Silver Lake" was supposed to be last summer, but, after negative reviews greeted it at Cannes, A24 cut the chord and changed its release for December 7th, then that date was bumped again to, supposedly, this coming Friday. I presume Mitchell’s film is indeed coming out in 4 days hence, so it’s time to give my two cents on this polarizing film, which I happened to catch almost a year ago at Cannes.
"Under the Silver Lake" actually works decently well, up until its lazy and infuriating payoff, which feels flat and uninspired. David Robert Mitchell (“It Follows”) is a filmmaker that wants to break rules, his work here with DP Mike Gioulakis is commendable. The problem is that there just is no there there, an L.A. odyssey about Sam (Andrew Garfield), a Peeping Tom-turned-amateur-detective who tries to crack the conspiracy case of a missing person which he believes may be hidden in pop-culture artifacts. That missing person is Sarah, and who wouldn’t have a thing for this stoner chick, especially since she’s played by Riley Keough. The evidence he uncovers leads him to vanish into the L.A. underworld, where nothing is as it seems; girl gangs, tween vandalists, a dog killer, a missing millionaire among other distractions Mitchell lays out for us.
The goal here is to build up a cult following, and, make no mistake about it, there will be people that'll respond to Mitchell's film in that very way. Clocking in at 139 minutes, this shapeless L.A. noir wants to be like "The Big Lebowski" and "The Long Goodbye," but tries too hard to attain the level of those classics. Mitchell's intention with this film was for it to be a purposeful and confusing California-flavored mental haze. However, the whole notion of a story revolving around a surreal dive into L.A's hipster community is nothing new at the movies. We’ve seen it all before. [B-]