Under the Silver Lake

Andrew Garfield leads us down a rabbit hole in David Robert Mitchell's dreamy, gorgeous and at times baffling LA neo-noir

Film Review by Jamie Dunn | 12 Mar 2019
  • Under the Silver Lake
Film title: Under the Silver Lake
Director: David Robert Mitchell
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Riley Keough, Topher Grace, Patrick Fischler, Grace Van Patten, Callie Hernandez, Zosia Mamet, Jeremy Bobb, Sydney Sweeney, Jimmi Simpson, David Yow
Release date: 15 Mar

This thrillingly dreamlike and borderline baffling detective yarn, set in the sunny but sinister LA familiar to David Lynch and Thomas Pynchon fans, follows Andrew Garfield as Sam, a feckless layabout who idles away his days getting stoned, playing Nintendo and perving at his female neighbours. It’s the latter, creepy hobby that gets him embroiled in a conspiracy when his object of lust, Sarah (Keough), mysteriously vacates her apartment overnight. Despite hardly knowing her, he turns sleuth, stumbling from one bizarre clue to another.

Like this writer-director’s previous genre riffs – coming-of-age movie The Myth of the American Sleepover and slasher It Follows – it’s the skew-whiff atmosphere that sells Under the Silver Lake’s convoluted story. Sam discovers a city filled with secret codes and disquieting characters: a canine killer on the prowl, a naked assassin with the face of an owl, and the obscenely wealthy, who’re up to something untoward in tunnels below the Hollywood hills. The score suggests Vertigo, and like that film, our detective hero is not to be admired, although Garfield’s endearing goofiness might fool you into doing so.

Released 15 Mar by Mubi; certificate 15