MovieChat Forums > Psycho (1960) Discussion > OT: Under The Silver Lake - by David Ro...

OT: Under The Silver Lake - by David Robert Mitchell, featuring Andrew Garfield


Finally got to see this at a film festival. It remains to be seen what kind of general release it will get. As yet there is only one cinema announced to be showing it in the UK next month.

Anyway. I really enjoyed this. As much as I enjoyed Mitchell's previous movie, It Follows.

Lots of Hitchcockian nods in it including a gloriously unsubtle, and literal joke at Hitch's expense. But one which Hitch would no doubt been tickled with. And I don't mean the Psycho poster hanging in the main character's apartment.

The score is overwhelmingly Herrmann-esque at points, when it isn't being Pino Dinaggio-esque, Wendy Carlos-esque, or 8-bit.

I occurred to me shortly before going to see the movie that Andrew Garfield could have made a fine Norman Bates. In fact, while I was watching the movie, I began to convince myself he had actually played Perkins in the film Hitchcock and I hadn't been aware of him at the time. Of course, he didn't. But I kind of wish that he had.


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@Martato. Apart from your note here, reviews I've read of UTSL have been uniformly terrible; probably the worst I've seen for a highly anticipated follow-up since Southland Tales back in the mid-'00s. You've got me intrigued... I may have to try to track UTSL down after all.

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I've read some quite hostile critic's reviews (the Guardian's is an absolute travesty) but also read just as many user and some critic reviews that have received it just as warmly as It Follows was (then again that movie also divides genre fans).

Honestly, I could understand some of the hostility if it was evident that Mitchell had not applied the same or similar touches to this as he had for his previous movie. Or if he'd imposed his style on a story or a story type it just wasn't suited to and vice versa, and it just didn't work at all.

The hostility from some critics definitely falls hints at the critic being frustrated from writing the review they had in their heads before seeing the film. Or maybe it is the review they couldn't wait to write.

At worst, it probably doesn't work as well as It Follows for some people and it's probably a bit too long. Although I can't imagine what you would cut out, or why. There's no scene that goes on too long compared to others or for its own sake, there's no scene that makes another redundant, there's no obvious indulgences unless you want to just shelve the entire film. Many of the critics saw it at Cannes so it's possible they saw a different cut. I don't know.

Neither can imagine anyone going to UTSL and seeing a different movie from what they were expecting. Maybe if you weren't familiar with It Follows and only seen the trailer you might just be expecting Big Lebowski for the new generation but it's not really a comedy, as such.

Short answer - If you appreciated It Follows and UTSL doesn't do anything for you then I don't know what to tell you. If you love UTSL just as much as It Follows then I dig where you're coming from.

I've been frustrated waiting for this to get ANY kind of release, so the delay and the anticipating were a recipe for disaster, if the movie had been a significant disappointment in any department. But I'm pleased to report that it wasn't for me. And the audience at Glasgow Film Festival seemed genuinely entertained.

Either way, it's a film that's asking for multiple viewings (just like It Follows).

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Ok. It's official now. The film is doing stuff to my head.

I think I can recommend it with some confidence to the visitors of this thread, that it is well worth seeing. (Although you perhaps might want to watch It Follows first to prepare yourself for the writer/director's approach to closure/conclusiveness)

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@Martato. I still haven't seen UTSL, but Kermode's rant about it yesterday was very entertaining:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pcl3GAOyJSk
I'm really quite looking forward to UTSL now. After all, I don't *regret* seeing Southland Tales, the big comparison case *again* here: the odd rant-worthy, maddening/daft failure is its own sort of entertainment and in a way a crucial part of a film-watching life.

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I was disappointed to hear Mark say things like "Everybody is calling it Southland Tales... " and then suggesting he may go back and reevaluate It Follows.

It certainly sounds like some critics like Kermode had preconceptions that weren't fulfilled.

And seeing the jokes has never been his strong point really.

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OK, I finally got to see UTSL....and, first time through, I found it at least quite watchable. Going in I think one should know that it's a Pynchonesque shaggy-dog story with neo-noir inflections (including quite a bit of causal nudity) and a bit of a '90s retro vibe despite being set 'now'. If that doesn't *sound* at all like your cup of tea then UTSL probably won't be.

The Long Goodbye, Lebowski, Inherent Vice, Rear Window, and Lynch's Inland Empire are for me the obvious points of reference for UTSL. It's not as accomplished as any of those with the resolution of the main plot-line in UTSL being a particular problem: suddenly the film gets both lamely talky and visually insipid. It Follows laid a bit of an egg near its end too! Both films, however, pull things back for strong final scenes and shots so their endings aren't complete busts.

In sum, then, while I can't *strongly* recommend UTSL, I'd say it's a fair amount of fun, maybe a 6.5-7/10, for people who're prepared to run with its rambling nature and basic slightness.

Update: On the last 'slightness' point: I didn't get the sense that UTSL had anything to say about anything beyond 'here's all the pop culture I've ever consumed'. Something that might have given the film *some* depth: if the black hole of what Andrew Garfield's (barely named - I had to look it up, Sam) character used to do for a living was filled in. If he was supposed to be a failed screenwriter-style, Hollywood dreamer then certain lineages (back to Barton Fink, In a Lonely Place, Sunset Blvd, etc.) would be clearer and lots of the script's affectations including the trail of dead bodies never followed up would have as a definite possible interpretation that we're in a movie-long skid through a screenwriter's imagination. In that case, one thing the movie would be about is just capturing the mindset of being a down-and-out writer in hipster LA (hint: you fantasize about scoring or semi-scoring with one after another hot alterna-chick, while you wait for that last credit card to be cancelled).

It's a little irritating that UTSL never nails down *anything* enough even to make this 'Scriptnotes The Movie' interp. a fully determinate possibility.

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BTW, I was a bit irked by IMDb (following official credits apparently) not listing a credit for 'Owl's Kiss'. Googling hard I was able to figure out she was played by Karen Nitsche, a French dancer and model based in LA. She has an IMDb entry but no credits (I didn't know that such a thing was possible). She has a vimeo page with this vid. of her dancing along to Chaka Khan's recent comeback record:
https://vimeo.com/310620078

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