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Under the Silver Lake

csage97 · 24 · 3963

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csage97

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on: March 22, 2018, 07:53:35 PM


An aimless young man becomes an unwitting detective when his beautiful neighbor vanishes.
From David Robert Mitchell and starring Andrew Garfield, Riley Keough, and Topher Grace. Under the Silver Lake. RELEASE DATE: June 22, 2018


This one has got me quite excited. I really enjoyed It Follows and I'm glad to see the director David Robert Mitchell and co. back at it. I LOVED the cinematography from It Follows, so I'm also happy to see that Mike Gioulakis is back on this one. So, could be another great one from A24 ....

The plot seems up my alley: a quirky detective-following-an-endlessy-deep-and-futile-case, which is just about the plot from a Pynchon novel. Seems goofy and fun on the surface, but suggestive of how we use and interpret signs and symbols, the meaning we get from them, the deep world of information and how it's exchanged, and the possibility that there are hidden worlds the common folk are unaware of (springs to mind this quote from Gravity's Rainbow: “You may never get to touch the Master, but you can tickle his creatures”).

I've been a bit cold on Andrew Garfield in the past, but I think I can like him in this one. It's a good role.


WorldForgot

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Reply #1 on: June 21, 2018, 02:21:45 PM

It had some cool scenes, but in the end it was just mimicking better horror movies.

Yes.

It's a real issue these days. Movies mimicking movies. And not in a meta way. Tarantino's life is made of movies. With Jurrasic World, etc, you can see fanboy filmaking, but this one is also the competent movie of a fanboy.

Bringing this over here from the Hereditary thread because I spoke with a friend who caught this at Cannes and it seems like the entire ordeal hinges on how much you want an Inherent Vice Lite mimicry, from the tone to its structure. And as 'fanboy filmmaking' gets more goin', it'll be an interesting discussion to have.


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Reply #2 on: December 08, 2018, 10:14:13 PM
This wasn't bad at all, despite the Rotten Tomato rating. I definitely see The Inherent Vice comparisons, but I have to say this one felt a whole lot more fresh and compelling to me than PTA's boring dud. To me, this one played a lot more like a poor man's David Lynch whereas IV felt a lot more like a poor man's Altman. Under The Silver Lake is not a masterpiece, and it never really coalesces into anything substantial, but I thoroughly enjoyed the journey it took me on. I really liked the movie's rando-dreaminess and its portrayal of certain LA mythos.


Drenk

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Reply #3 on: December 09, 2018, 05:52:52 AM
You may have find it less boring than IV, but it's way less substantial. (I don't think it tries to feel like an Altman movie, especially The Long Goodbye, as similar as they may be regarding the themes.) It spends it time quoting movies and winking. It may seem that it aims at the same thing as IV and that kind of story (The Big Sleep, The Long Goodbye, The Big Lebowski), but that's it: it looks that way. That younger geberation really has nothing to show except that they like some movies.

Ultimately, I'd compare this movie to Ready Player One: this one is way more self aware than the Spielberg, but it also treats a perverse relation with pop culture.
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eward

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Reply #4 on: December 10, 2018, 06:40:13 AM
Inherent Vice may be a lot of things, but boring is certainly not one of them.
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WorldForgot

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Reply #5 on: December 15, 2018, 04:19:36 PM
Wanted to like this more than I did. It's funny, for sure. Seems like they could trim some of these gags, though, especially since nothing is meant to resolve.

The script/tone is a mess, yet its vibe works. I wish it had followed through on the Argento/De Palma bend it almost takes with the Owl's Kiss plot, but in the end it wants to go THRU POP CULTURE instead of consider it as habitat. The humor is very mid 00's. That's not even Topher Grace's fault, he's one of the only functional performances here.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2019, 12:07:35 PM by WorldForgot »


csage97

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Reply #6 on: December 23, 2018, 05:15:31 PM
I finally got to see this, and I really enjoyed it. There may be spoilers in my following words, so there's my caution if you haven't seen it.

As others have said, its biggest downside is that its plot points don't seemingly (viz. apparently) coalesce to anything of much substance. For the most part, I enjoyed the gags and paranoid conspiracy points, though my two biggest gripes are that (1) they didn't seem to readily add up to much of meaning or didn't really get me thinking about anything too important right away (i.e., something of substance), and (2)  that some of those plot points were just a bit too campy. Inherent Vice is weighted with convolution and confusing threads that may or may not be plausible but that lie just beyond our total comprehension, suggesting some secret world, something sinister, something serious that we're either just not noticing or are even being actively diverted from noticing. On the other hand, it's sort of the opposite in Silver Lake: Andrew Garfield wants to find something of meaning, wants to have some revelatory experience, but instead just travels through the weirdness of LA mythos, pop culture, and the vapid, vein pursuits of LA oddballs and rich people. So maybe that's where the meaning lies. However, the connections of the conspiracy are too goofy and too unbelievable to be treated with the pressing importance that, say, a Pynchon novel or the Inherent Vice movie might have.

Still, I really enjoyed this as I said. Consider that I watched The Nice Guys starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe the night before, a movie that sports 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and 70% on metacritic (both better ratings than what Silver Lake sports on the same sites). Where these movies relate are that they're both sort of LA noirs/detective stories, albeit The Nice Guys is a buddy-cop movie. Still, I would argue that The Nice Guys is COMPLETE fluff. The cinematography in The Nice Guys is competent and very well-done, but lacks the artistry of the cinematography in Silver Lake (more on that later). The script for TNG is far more generic than the script UTSL. The music in UTSL is less generic, fits the story more, is more noticeable, and so on. Perhaps it's an unfair comparison because they're really for different audiences despite being somewhat similar, but my point is that although UTSL lacks some substance, it's not nearly as much as a run-of-the-mill comedy for the masses.

Where UTSL does totally shine without question is in the cinematography. As I mentioned in my original post, I was excited for Mike Gioulakis, and he did a fantastic job here. The slow zooms, wide-angle portraits, night scenes, etc., all fit the mood so well from scene-to-scene and become part of the story by helping to convey what Andrew Garfield is experiencing. Seriously, everything from lens choices to the way he lights rooms and outdoor night scenes is fantastic. There's a lot of artistry here and I'm confident in saying that Gioulakis is one of my favourite DPs; I think he may be my favourite cinematographer for lighting night scenes (he did it so well in It Follows and does it again here).

The last thing that I should mention about the movie was that it was a lot of fun. Sure, the plot wasn't perhaps as engrossing as it could've been, but I was still engaged. Just bathing in the LA mythos and visuals is enough. The one qualifier is that I'm younger and probably not as much a seasoned cinephile as others here, and I prefer to watch movies that will appeal to my tastes and biases, rather than consuming in quantity -- so I can't really speak to the idea of fanboy cinema here.

To some of the posters above, keep in mind that Inherent Vice is a lot of talking and still cameras/very slow push-ins across a pretty long runtime, so I totally get why lots of people would be bored. As a PTA fan and Pynchon devotee, I even thought that PTA could've used more steadicam and less cameras just focusing on actors talking. Yeah, PTA has said that what he finds most interesting in movies is actors doing their thing, which means focusing on them in conversation, but that's his biggest downfall to me. Anyway, my point is that I can totally understand why someone would find IV boring or get bored after an hour and a half or so.


Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #7 on: December 29, 2019, 11:23:53 PM
I would like to issue a public service announcement and steer people clear of this terrible movie. You may think it's going to amount to something of any significance, but it does not.

Spoiler: ShowHide
Bits I liked:

Owl's Kiss

Riley Keough

The scene where he gets sprayed in the face by the skunk
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Something Spanish

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Reply #8 on: December 30, 2019, 11:26:49 AM
I'm sorry, JB, I fucking adore this movie. Probably my 2nd favorite of the year


eward

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Reply #9 on: December 30, 2019, 11:43:38 AM
I loved it too. Got the blu for The Christmas  :)
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Something Spanish

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Reply #10 on: December 31, 2019, 08:03:17 AM
Nice, I would definitely had bought the Blu if I didn't have Prime. Rewatched so many scenes multiple times during the summer, the concert where he eats the brownie, the final cave scene, the songwriter's mansion, it's so brimming with ideas that disparate as the pieces may appear it abstractly  comes together in the end.


WorldForgot

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Reply #11 on: January 10, 2020, 07:50:31 PM
Invalid Tweet ID


Drenk

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Reply #12 on: January 10, 2020, 08:02:22 PM
The Golden Fang of a Silver Dog?
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csage97

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Reply #13 on: August 11, 2020, 08:23:15 PM
I think I was one of the original advocates for this movie ("original" is probably giving myself too much importance, but hey, I'll give it). I've watched it three or four times now. Recently, I watched it after an indulging night of WAY too much drinking. I threw this on because it's kind of like what QT calls "a hangout movie" to me; it's about a down-and-out guy who gives way too much importance to things that don't ultimately matter (which I think is the whole point of the movie in the end), and it also shows a lot of what I think LA would be like in my head. I say that as a person who lives directly across the continent to the northeast. That is, its LA shows the sunny locations, well dressed and hip weirdos, and is infused with endless calls to pop culture, albeit in a kitschy and ham-handed way.

My drunken observations kind of cleared some things up for me. Even after an ungodly amount of beer and whiskey, I was able to question how he gets into an expensive high-rise rooftop party after following those mysterious girls who meet up with the pirate guy at Echo Park Lake. Maybe he told the door guys that he was with the pirate guy and the girls. Maybe the door guy told him what floor the party was on. In any case, it's a lot of assumptions to make.

And then, one of the most egregious oversights to me in my drunken state was that Garfield went swimming in the pool, and in the next scene, he's completely dry in the bathroom. Did he take off jeans and t-shirt and swim in his underwear? Did he get a towel so graciously handed out at the party? Again, I can fill in the gaps with jumps in logic, but I'd rather not.

A lot of the story is heavy-handed, and the back half is worse than the first, despite the things mentioned about the first half. Some of the audio mixing is great, and then some of it is awful (the way sound queues sound artificial or too hokey).

Still, there's something charming about this movie that I like, and I think it's the things I mentioned at the beginning: that it's like a hangout movie in LA where we follow the down-and-out protagonist. I think the script and details just got out of the hands of the director and team too much. It's ambitious in ways, and it could've been great if not for some oversights and unwieldy plot points, plus editing and sound flubs. I also like Andrew Garfield, but I think he overacts a bit much, like he's telegraphing things or overemphasizing movements and stuff.


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Reply #14 on: August 11, 2020, 09:28:43 PM
totally. i still haven't seen the movie but i enjoyed the post. you know, la hangout movies are a whole genre. there's this like anxiety-struck nyc genre, and an la hangout genre. IV too, of course. OUATIH too, of course. The Long Goodbye, oh sure, but, even better, California Split. Shampoo. Echo Park. Modern Girls. Lions Love (... and Lies). The Trip. Welcome to LA (which i don't like). but and after OUATIH was released QT, of course, had ones he wanted to mention. ones that inspired him. Targets is pretty good if you're into that sort of thing, but i like Model Shop, Jacques Demy's la movie. there's some this/that about brief intimacy between the Model Shop lady, Lola, played by Anouk Aimée, who played Lola, in Jacques Demy's Lola, and one of the scientists from Kubrick's 2001, who is the protagonist, and my favorite quality is how the protagonist is mostly depressed, mostly lost in life, not knowing what to do, and just driving around, just filling up his car with gas, and it has a Pickpocket-like final line that states everything has become figured out from an interior perspective