"What are they hiding?" in Under the Silver Lake. This neo-noir black comedy thriller film written and directed by David Robert Mitchell. Sam is a disenchanted thirty-three-year-old who discovers a mysterious woman, Sarah, frolicking in his apartment's swimming pool. When she vanishes, Sam embarks on a surreal quest across Los Angeles to decode the secret behind her disappearance, leading him into the murkiest depths of mystery, scandal and conspiracy in the City of Angels.
In May 2016, it was announced that Mitchell would be writing and directing a film with Andrew Garfield and Dakota Johnson set to star. By late October, Riley Keough, Topher Grace, Callie Hernandez, Riki Lindhome, Zosia Mamet, Patrick Fischler and Jimmi Simpson rounded out the film's cast. Keough replaced Johnson as the latter dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. At the same time, principal photography commenced and took place throughout Los Angeles, California.
The film stars Garfield, Keough, Grace, Hernandez, Lindhome, Mamet, Fischler and Simpson. The thing the film has going is its sense of always plucking at the fringe, the conviction that the central characters aren't necessarily the most interesting ones. However, Garfield's ability to carry every emotion just under the surface and break down at the exact right moment is insane.
I could go on at great length about the dark subtexts swirling underneath the film, but the most important thing is that the surface is genuinely terrifying and hilarious. It's an instant classic. I can't remember the last movie that freaked me out and made me laugh so thoroughly. Great movies stick to the back of your mind; the film breathes down the back of your neck. Please go see this movie. It is the kind of movie that makes you think about it for days afterwards, which means they did a great job. The film manages to both take place in a believable world and depart from it in productive ways. California has rarely seemed so funny and scary. It still impresses as a savvy but sincere exercise in sustained tension-building and release-more of a machine than a film, maybe, but a finely wrought one. The film embodies the dreamlike, sensual hum of a foreign film and a concrete narrative indicative of American cinema. After a decade spent making two films that are like pressure cookers, Anderson was clearly ready to blow off some steam. It isn't one film but many, an anthology of expertly recreated genre tropes, from fog-shrouded noir to sunlit paranoia. It is a movie best lived as an experience. Sit back and let Mitchell take you on a ride hazy ride, accept it like a cloud of smoke blown into your face, and feel what comes. The plot might be a bit all over-the-place and hard to follow at times, but if you just sit back and let the movie take control, the film turns out to be a fun ride. Compulsively watchable and suitably frustrating, this stoner noir is one of Mitchell's cleverest films, no doubt - but by some distance his least wise.