Released 04/19/2019 Rated: R
What…the…F… So, I originally thought I was gonna put this movie a step above Mulholland Dr., but as I’m marinating on it, I think I’m gonna put it a step below. Let me give you my history with that movie: had to watch it for a film class in college. It was my introduction to David Lynch. Movie made no GD sense! I stopped it half way through after the big twist. I couldn’t take it. I needed a guide just to be able to understand the freakin’ movie, and I do now that it’s been explained to me.
Mulholland Dr. is weird. Silver Lake is the same but it’s also gross. This movie is full of boobs, dude ass, literal shit, sex, skunk spray, and a man getting his face bashed in. I get the metaphors, but is some of this really necessary?? This movie is infuriating. It’s genius, but one of its goals is to make you uncomfortable, and those aspects are a little too strong. I can rewatch Mulholland Dr. I know for a fact that I’m not going to be able to watch this one again.
There are so many references and homages to the Golden Age of Hollywood: Hitchcock, Rear Window, Marilyn Monroe, David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick, and many more. The cinematography is amazing. Each shot has been set up for a purpose. There’s no wasted footage. None of it is visually boring. The score is a legitimate score. It’s grand and expressive and effective. There’s a shot of Garfield watching security footage in the house of a murder victim. And the urban legend of the Owl Woman crosses the room and down the hall to bedroom. The visual of this simple shot is creepy enough, but the accompanying music makes it that much more unsettling. I was not okay during that scene.
The trailer sold us on an interesting mystery. This guy falls for a girl in his apartment complex only to find her place completely cleared out the next day. He goes looking for her, each new finding leading him down a rabbit hole of conspiracy and strangeness. What Sam really is is a disenchanted man with no job, past due on his rent, having sex with his friend who’s an aspiring actress. An actress who always shows up in like porno-style sexy outfits. —Okay, so the entire movie is filtered through the toxic male gaze, so of course her outfits are sexy ones and this movie’s full of boobs! The one girl he’s actually after is the one he hasn’t gotten any from yet. Of course she’s portrayed as “innocent” and wearing nothing but white (even her dog is white!) and their one date consisted of watching an old movie and playing footsie. He doesn’t even know her, but he’s obsessed with her because he can’t have her.
This movie has a lot it’s also trying to say. Cults and murder. Conspiracy of most pop culture being a mass-produced fad by one guy. Hollywood considering women to be nothing more than sex symbols for male enjoyment. Hollywood taking the innocence of women. Urban legends seeming to come true. Some of it goes places, some of it doesn’t. It’s difficult to tell what’s real and what’s not because we have an unreliable narrator. Not only is everything filtered through the male gaze, but everything Sam sticks in his mouth is laced with something. The man is constantly either drunk or high and he likes to read scary stories as well as conspiracy theories. I’d like to think, at surface level, Sam’s made most of this up in his head after he finds this girl’s apartment empty. Maybe even before.