“UNDER THE SILVER LAKE,” an enjoyable faux-David Lynch procedural scorched by L.A.’s sunshine

Summer 2011. Los Angeles. After he has breakfast, Sam goes home and tears up a note that’s stuck to his door. It says that he has five days to pay his rent or else. Between taking a call from his mother, smoking his morning cigarette and oggling his neighbor, Sam doesn’t do much else. He’s a bit of a dilettante. He notices a strange woman, Sarah (Riley Keough), swimming in his apartment’s swimming pool. After she disappears, Sam launches on a strange quest across Los Angeles to try and find out more about the mystery woman. In terms of atmosphere think David Lynch in the sunny L.A. outdoors.

Director David Robert Mitchell of “It follows” fame comes back to the big screen with “Under the Silver Lake,” a strange and quirky film centered around the real-life L.A. neighborhood called Silver Lake. Mitchell has us follow an anti-hero, a kind of lazy genius whose pastime seems to be inhabited by a pungent awareness of omens that are invisible to mere mortals, until the above-mentioned Sarah gives him purpose. An A-class procrastinator, Sam sees life the conspiracy theory lens. The funny thing is that his intuition will turn out to be right, even though whatever path he uses to establish it will turn out to be utterly confusing.

“Under the Silver Lake,” a faux-David Lynch procedural that’s based mainly on emotion, feeling, and intuition, stands as a tribute to the City of Angels in all its paranormal weirdness. David Robert Mitchell has captured the essence of the places that his hero explores as he seeks answers about Sarah’s disappearance, propping up around him a coherent but oneiric context that eschews any attempt at analysis.

I first saw this film at the 2018 Cannes Festival and enjoyed it tremendously. Some scenes, like the old pianist guy, are utterly mesmerising.

“Under the Silver Lake,” directed by David Robert Mitchell, comes out on April 19th.


Director David Robert Mitchell