David Robert Mitchells Under the Silver Lake has a great title, but thats about it. This indulgent and bloated noirish sage set in the L.A. underground was a bit of an also-ran, with scattered defenders but not much impact, when it premiered at Cannes last year as one of only two American Competition entries in competition (Spike Lees BlacKkKlansman was the other and took Grand Prize), so now in the week Cannes announces its new schedule, its ironic that its finally getting a domestic release, however limited, starting Friday.

Originally distributor A24 was planning to release it last summer after Cannes, then pushed it to the end of the year. Those plans obviously evaporated, and it hasnt surfaced in America until now, long after any hoped-for buzz has faded. Because I have admired the directors more modest previous efforts The Myth of the American Sleepover, and It Follows — the latter turning into a cult horror hit — it disappoints me that I couldnt connect more with this overlong, clearly more ambitious effort that seems mostly to be David Lynch-lite. You can see the influence of Twin Peaks, Mulholland Drive and others on Under the Silver Lake, but making something that is so all over the place is a balancing act that Mitchell just couldnt figure out. Robert Altman and The Coen brothers appear to be other influences, but most of this is just posing.

Among more recent films it probably is closest in tone to Inherent Vice, Paul Thomas Andersons acquired taste that some hated, but I find very repeatable and won an Original Screenplay Oscar nomination. The comparison between these two directors starts and ends only with the fact that they both go by three names that could be first or last. That said, I can say I never was bored here since star Andrew Garfield always is watchable, even as intensely over-the-top as his performance is in the lead role of Sam, an early-30ish guy obsessed with the disappearance of a young woman he had just seemingly entered into a relationship with. Trainwrecks arent boring either, but it doesnt mean I would wish one on anyone, just as I cant honestly wish a viewing of this film on anyone.

Garfields Sam (as in Spade?) is a movie and pop culture freak, his L.A. digs adorned with posters like Rear Window. There are lots of movie connections everywhere in this thing. Like that 1954 Hitchcock film, he peera through his window to ogle neighbors, and one day spots one, Sarah (Riley Keough), who intrigues him. This leads to a casual relationship (they even watch 1953s How to Marry a Millionaire Read More – Source

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