UNDER THE Silver Lake has been billed as The Big Lewbowski mixed with Blue Velvet. It is directed by David Robert Mitchell, director of It Follows, my favourite film of 2014. It also boasts a quality cast and a really great trailer.
This should be great. It was not. Andrew Garfield plays Sam, who does not seem to have a job and is behind on his rent (but in true Hollywood style, every woman still wants to sleep with him for some reason ). He is obsessed with pop culture and spies on his sunbathing female neighbours with binoculars.
He then has a fleeting romantic encounter with a woman, and subsequently discovers she has disappeared, so he attempts to crack the case. It takes him all over LA, cracking codes using old hobo hieroglyphics, maps from Nintendo magazines, and coded song lyrics. This is basically a 19-year-old boy fantasy movie. All that useless information you retain as a teenager actually helping for something other than a table quiz.
'Under The Silver Lake is pretentious and revels in it'
It is rare I dislike a movie as much as I dislike this while finding almost no fault in the performances. Garfield is great, as he usually is, the supporting cast of Riley Keogh, Zosia Mamet, and Topher Grace all do a fine job. The problem here is the story and the way it is told. It is so unbearably pleased with itself.
After a rocky start, it appeared to be making an interesting point - about conspiracy theorists and online culture, how people are seeing patterns which are not really there - and I thought I was warming to it. Perhaps the film was satirising the way young men treat pop culture with such reverence. But no, when the film decides these theories are real, and when it justifies Sam's violent outbursts and misogyny, it comes across as obnoxious and crass.
As it unravels I just lost patience. It infuriated me towards the end. Under The Silver Lake is pretentious and revels in it. At two hours and 30 minutes it has no respect for your time. The worst thing about this movie is it makes me want to go back and reassess the director's previous work. What a shame.