my Movie

Movie Details

Title:   Under the Silver Lake
Director:   David Robert Mitchell
Year:   2018
Genre:   Noir
Times Seen:   1
Last Seen:   09.26.18

Other Movies Seen By This Director (1)
- It Follows

Notes History
Date Viewed Venue Note
09.26.18Alamo South LamarThis Screening is part of event: FantasticFest 2018
I think this is the only movie I saw where all my friends liked it more. It's given me more to think about as to what bugged me about it.

From the get-go, this one's aiming for a Big Lebowski / Inherent Vice / Kiss Kiss Bang Bang noirish LA-set mystery with Andrew Garfield as a slacker looking for missing hot neighbor Riley Keough.

I think most of my problems with the movie speak to a perceived ego of the director. Maybe I'm projecting all of this but it feels like an indulgent victory lap of a movie with extravagant luxuries that the movie doesn't need but are thrown in there because it's what the precious genius director if It Follows wants. You could say the same thing about Magnolia, which I like, so maybe it's just a personal taste issue or that I feel like PTA isn't as obnoxious as Robert David Mitchell in person or something like that. Either way, I felt like the movie fell into similar traps as Matrix 2 or Southland Tales: too long, too many frayed edges, too much going on and not enough justification. I feel like the movie doesn't earn its excess, which sounds pretty pompous as I write it so that might be bullshit once I sit with it for a while.

Anyway, all of this doesn't mean that I didn't have fun while watching it. I did feel like, with my first watch anyway following the plot, I enjoyed the moment to moment with an expectation or hope that the movie would end in a satisfying way. When the ending came, it made me take stock of everything else and I feel like much of it was unnecessary. Maybe that's the point? Maybe a second viewing would allow me to enjoy each scene and not worry about the story?

Before the film, the director told the audience to not try to make sense of everything for their first time and let it wash over you. This rubbed me the wrong way, since a) don't tell me how to watch your movie, and b) you have a movie that's framed around a mystery but you're telling me not to think about the mystery. I am certainly fine with not having every loose end tied up in a bow, but that's much harder to do with a genre that is all about confusing details that make sense at the end. The Big Lebowski is stylish and character-driven as fuck but the core mystery still has a resolution that explains all the weird stuff throughout.

Which gets to the heart of it I think. I think I just don't like the director's personality. Most of his answers to the Q&A afterward rubbed me the wrong way as well as his intro. Someone asked about why they added CG to obscure Andrew Garfield's penis when there was so much female nudity in the film and his answer was "to be fair, Andrew Garfield was naked for a lot of the film." I think there wasn't an actress in the movie that didn't show her breasts (not complaining about this. I repeat, I am not complaining about this), but you get like two quick glimpses of Garfield's ass. I don't want to be a nudity police or anything, but the gratuity felt a little pushed to me (and i'm all for gratuitous nudity). I just see the director saying to himself "and EVERYONE's naked!" as he wrote the treatment.

So in the end, who knows how this film will sit on me. My first impression was that it was fun enough while watching but I walked out with several issues with the movie. Again, not to say I hated it, just didn't love it.
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