Under the Silver Lake (2018)

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Under the Silver Lake (2018) poster

Date Created: 29/01/2019
Date Modified: 29/01/2019
Genre: |
Runtime: 139 min -
Under the Silver Lake is a 2018 American neo-noir mystery film written, produced and directed by David Robert Mitchell. Set in Los Angeles, it stars Andrew Garfield as a young man who sets out on a quest to investigate the sudden disappearance of his neighbour (Riley Keough), only to stumble upon an elusive and dangerous large-scale conspiracy. The film had its world premiere on May 15, 2018 at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, where it competed for the Palme d'Or, before being released nationwide in France on August 8. It is scheduled to be released in the United States on April 19, 2019, by A24. Under the Silver Lake polarized critics; although its originality, direction, soundtrack, cinematography, and Garfield's performance were praised, some found the script confusing, too cryptic, and lacking the substance and depth the film was aiming for.
Budget: $8.5 million
Box office: $1.7 million
Plot: Sam is an affable but aimless young man with an interest in conspiracy theories and finding hidden messages in everyday popular culture, who lives a lazy, jobless life in Los Angeles. One day he meets and develops a crush on his new neighbour Sarah. She tells him to come back the next day, but when he does, she and her roommates all seemingly moved out during the night. Meanwhile, he becomes fascinated with a zine titled Under the Silver Lake, which features story elements reminiscent of recent real-life events such as a serial dog killer. After following a woman he spotted going through Sarah's apartment, Sam starts following a chain of individuals and events in the hopes of finding information about Sarah, and starts believing he is being followed. However, he later identifies Sarah as one of the three women who died in a car fire alongside billionaire mogul Jefferson Sevence, recognizing one of the victims' hat to be hers. After a conspiracy theorist friend of Sam, the author of the graphic novel, and obsessed with the back cover of an old cereal box is found dead from an apparent suicide, Sam learns from reviewing his friend's security tapes that he was killed by the Owl's Kiss, a womanly creature from Under the Silver Lake; he concludes that his friend's death is related to the ongoing conspiracy. By following a series of clues hidden in songs and historic monuments, Sam meets the "Homeless King", a man who brings him to an underground bunker beneath Griffith Park leading into a supermarket. With the help of women he met through his investigation and who turned out to be connected, Sam finds the "Songwriter", the man who wrote all the popular hit songs of the current and past generations. The songwriter confirms that all his songs, as well as most of pop culture, contain hidden messages; he claims that the messages are not for Sam and tries to shoot him, leading Sam to use his idol Kurt Cobain's Fender Mustang to kill him by smashing his head. After sharing his findings with Sevence's daughter Millicent, she gives him a bracelet with strange symbols that she found in her father's office, which she believes to be connected to his disappearance; she is then shot dead in a pose strikingly similar to that of the cover of Sam's favorite Playboy issue. By combining the bracelet, the prize inside his friend's old cereal box, and a The Legend of Zelda map featured in the first-ever issue of Nintendo Power, Sam is able to find a location that doesn't show on web mapping where he finds a man and three women. The man reveals that through history a selected few wealthy men like himself choose to lock themselves into underground bunkers similar to the one Sam previously discovered in order for their souls to "ascend" to a new blissful realm of existence, taking three "wives" to go with them. He confirms that Sarah and her roommates were Jefferson Sevence's wives, and that their deaths were faked in order for the four of them to ascend. Once they went inside their bunker, it was sealed and cannot be left, but as the process takes months and they can be contacted via videotelephony, Sam gets to talk with Sarah, who confirms that she entered the bunker on her own will. As Sarah leaving the bunker is not an option, the two share an emotional farewell and hang up. The Homeless King captures Sam, but eventually lets him go, stating that the members of the conspiracy probably won't kill Sam, although he is not certain. When he comes back to his apartment complex, Sam spends the night with a neighbor whose parrot keeps on saying incomprehensible words, although she too does not know what words he is saying. From her balcony, Sam sees his landlord and a police lady entering his apartment to evict him because he didn't pay his rent. The two realize that the wall has been painted with a strange symbol, which Sam knows to be a message left by the conspiracy members to remind him to keep quiet.
Under the Silver Lake
Under the Silver Lake.png
Teaser poster
Directed byDavid Robert Mitchell
Produced by
  • Michael De Luca
  • Chris Bender
  • Jake Weiner
  • Adele Romanski
  • David Robert Mitchell
Written byDavid Robert Mitchell
  • Andrew Garfield
  • Riley Keough
Music byDisasterpeace
CinematographyMike Gioulakis
Edited byJulio Perez IV
  • A24
  • Pastel Productions
  • Michael De Luca Productions
  • Stay Gold Features
  • Vendian Entertainment
  • Salem Street Entertainment
  • Boo Pictures
Distributed byA24
Release date
  • May 15, 2018 (2018-05-15) (Cannes)
  • June 8, 2018 (2018-06-08) (France)
  • April 19, 2019 (2019-04-19) (United States)
Running time
139 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$8.5 million
Box office$1.7 million[1][2]