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Sam (Andrew Garfield) is a disenchanted 33-year-old who discovers a mysterious woman, Sarah (Riley Keough), frolicking in his apartment's swimming pool. When she vanishes, Sam embarks on a surreal quest across Los Angeles to decode the secret behind her disappearance, leading him into the murkiest depths of mystery, scandal and conspiracy in the City of Angels.Written by
Under the Silver Lake is the third feature film of upcoming director David Robert Mitchell. Mitchell already established his skills in creating atmospheric movies with 2014's It Follows: a clear homage to 80's horror films. And with his new movie it's obvious that he dared to drift even further from the classic hollywood style of filmmaking.
Under the Silver Lake is not an easy movie to digest and will probably not be appreciated by the general public, nor does it need to be. It's clear that Mitchell creates movies out of passion (as the best directors do), and after the success of It Follows he became more bold and as a result was able to create a truely bizzare piece of cinema that reminds us of movies like Enemy (Denis Villeneuve), Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly) and the most obvious: Mullholland Drive (David Lynch).
Sam is a lonely, miserable and in the end quite unlikable guy living in L.A. After a neighbour girl who he became enamoured with dissapears, Sam becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to her. The search for the truth reveals more and more weird secrets along the way. Including the disappearance of furniture, a dog killer and hidden messages in the media.
If you're looking for a movie with an easy plot that will give you all the answers in the end, this movie isn't for you. Many of the plot elements don't get resolved or explained, but when looking at the movie as a whole, this is not a problem. In my humble opinion it just adds tot he overal weirdness and atmosphere of paranoia that the movie is meant to give way to.
By far the most striking element of this movie is, however, the unique style. The cinematography has some expertly used neo-noir elements, adding to the detective atmosphere of the movie. Furthermore, it's obvious that Mitchell is selective in the shots being used in the movie. Only a minimal amount of shots are used to tell the tale, leading to a very clean-cut look. The movie has some unique camera movements but those are sparsely used as well, contrasting strongly with the otherwise simple camerawork. Because of this, those special camera movements stand out more and really serve their purpose. The use of music and sound elements is also quite striking: in particular the use of mickey mousing, to often compliment the previously mentioned unique camerawork.
Overal Under the Silver Lake is a beautiful piece of cinema that might not be what the average film goer is looking for, but cinephiles will probably appreciate for it's distinct uniqueness and surprisingly well mashed up uses of different stylistic choices.
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