8/10 My 8th most anticipated film of 2018, which then after a delay became my 14th most anticipated film of 2019, “Under the Silver Lake” had me excited due to writer/director David Robert Mitchell who put out one of the top five best horror films of the last decade; 2014’s “It Follows”. While not quite on the level of “It Follows”, Mitchell goes for something completely different and winds up with a film that you will most likely love or loathe. While A24 has a solid resume of film releases, they unfortunately delayed this film multiple times before dumping it with a VOD (video on demand) release in 2019, ensuring that hardly anyone saw it. While I recognize that this film will be polarizing, I fell on the side of loving it for its originality, messaging, hidden codes/Easter eggs, terrific performances and modern day film noir sensibilities. The film follows an unemployed loser Sam (Andrew Garfield in another fantastic performance) who hits it off one night with his dream girl Sarah (Riley Keough) only to find that she has gone missing with her apartment completely cleared out the following day. Sam then jumps deep into the rabbit hole to find hidden clues only meant for certain people by way of music, entertainment, TV shows, cereal boxes, video games, subliminal messaging, etc. in his quest to find his Marilyn Monroe figure whom he idolizes. The film has some David Lynch vibes but instead of being weird just for the sake of being weird (a big downfall for Lynch), this film does mostly make sense while not answering 100% of your questions. Despite its almost two and a half hour running time, I found myself enthralled and entertained every step of the way while trying to solve the film’s mysteries and enjoying the social commentary on Hollywood, misogyny, subliminal messages, lust, paranoia, etc. As someone who does believe that this world does have plenty of subliminal messages and hidden symbolism/codes only meant for certain people (pedophiles routinely do this to fly under the radar) in a world largely run by elites (think the Bilderberg Group or secret societies like Skull & Bones), I was fascinated by some of these relatable elements. While not every song, film, book or video game has hidden messages or secret codes, some certainly do and deciphering these codes can be fun and challenging. The film has an old Hollywood feel with everything from Hitchcock references to old films posters and James Dean references while commenting on modern Hollywood’s ability to use and abuse women, only to discard them, all while us simple viewers idolize Hollywood celebrities while not actually knowing the dark and seedy things going on with far too many of them. The film score from Disasterpeace (who also brilliantly scored “It Follows”) is one of the highlights of the film and pays homage to film noirs of the 1930s. The acting ensemble is brilliant and the originality (something Hollywood lacks today) makes this an extremely memorable film viewing experience. In a film about hidden messages/codes, we get another layer since the film has hidden messages itself, even if they mostly go over our heads unless you research the film. For example, there is a seemingly random moment where Sarah looks up into the sky. Sam looks up to see what she is looking up at only to see fireworks going off. The moment feels random until you realize that when you hear each loud boom of the fireworks going off, that those booms are actually Morse code, revealing a hidden message. Little Easter eggs like that make this a film that you could dive in and dissect for hours on end if you feel so inclined. With “It Follows” and now the criminally under seen “Under the Silver Lake”, Mitchell has gone two for two and while he unfortunately takes quite a bit of time off between films, I am hoping he spent his 2020 quarantine writing because I am already excited for whatever his next genre bending film may be. This is a mystery filled lake worth swimming in.

#UnderTheBannerOfHollywood / #TheUnsocialNetwork / #TheStalkOfFame / #That30sShow / #AFallFromTopherGrace / #ItComesAtHollywoodNights

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