(Release Info London schedule; March 15th, 2019, Prince Charles Cinema, London WC2H, 7 Leicester Place, London, WC2H 7BY, 12:35 PM)
"Under The Silver Lake"
From the dazzling imagination that brought you "It Follows" comes a delirious neo-noir thriller about one man’s search for the truth behind the mysterious crimes, murders, and disappearances in his 'East L.A'. neighborhood. Sam (Andrew Garfeld) is a disenchanted 33 year old who discovers a mysterious woman, Sarah (Riley Keough), 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'.
On one level, this is the story of a young man searching for a missing woman, a man who seemingly might be losing his mind while uncovering some bigger meaning. Sam is a very interesting and layered central character, one who's in many ways not immediately knowable. He's 33-year-old on the cusp of being evicted from his apartment complex on L.A.’s eclectic 'East Side'. With a dog killer terrifying his 'Silver Lake' neighborhood, and a missing billionaire dominating the evening news, Sam falls under the spell of his neighbor Sarah, a mysterious ingénue obsessed with Marilyn Monroe and 'The Golden Age Of Hollywood'. Sarah is a mysterious and beguiling woman. She's a special character, you can’t really place her in a specifc time or location. After her sudden disappearance, he turns amateur detective, embarking on a quest across Los Angeles to find her, discovering a strange cast of characters along the way as he journeys from one party, and conspiracy, to another. Is he losing himself as he slips further down the rabbit hole, or is he coming into his own as he goes about solving some of the most confounding mysteries of our time? Sam is an 'Everyman' who's looking for his place in the world, he wants to find his deeper purpose and sense of belonging in a world that seems to reject him at every turn. He refuses to live as a zombie like so many modern people; he won’t be a herded sheep. But hes constantly coming up against his own sense of powerlessness.
Anybody who’s come to Los Angeles to pursue a certain ambition can relate to Sam, and imagine how fame and fortune might go in the opposite direction. He’s out of money, and while he could probably land a job if he wanted one, he’s drawn towards something more exciting; this sense of adventure in solving the mystery of Sarah’s disappearance that lies at the heart of the movie. Obsessed with pop culture, Sam’s quest deepens when he stumbles on a handcrafted zine called 'Under The Silver Lake' in a downtown bookshop. Documenting L.A.’s showbiz myths and legends, the publication plunges Sam into a murky underworld of Tinseltown lore that may or may not echo Sarah’s disappearance. Tracking down it's kooky creator, a hoarder of celebrity ephemera and crackpot conspiracy theories, Sam becomes convinced there are secrets underneath 'The Silver Lake' reservoir, and atop the mythical 'Hollywood Hills' surrounding his home. Sam follows the mystery through iconic locations in 'The City Of Angels', from the portal into downtown that's 'The Second Street Tunnel', a staple of classic crime fction, to the stargazing destination that's 'The Griffth Park Observatory', and the repository of dead stars known as 'The Hollywood Forever Cemetery', where long-dead luminaries share lawn space with aspiring hopefuls at movie screenings and events.
Like Philip Marlowe in 'The Big Sleep', Jake Gittes in 'Chinatown' and even Betty Elms in 'Mulholland Drive', Sam becomes a detective in the sunshine and shadows of 'Southern California', delving beneath the surface of Hollywood artifce to unearth deeply entrenched corruption at the city’s core. Sam feels so specifc and unique. He’s full of contradictions and deep longings, as well as superfcial ones. He's absolutely a product of his times. As the film follows Sam on his surreal journey beneath the surface of Los Angeles, the score aims to present all the absurdity, mystery, and complexity that may or may not exist at any given moment, while honoring some of the simpler, more earnest emotions and themes at play between the characters and the world. The protagonist believes that his place in the world should be bigger or more important than it's. Sam is out of sync with his surroundings and he’s wondering why that's. Featuring a panorama of memorable characters, "Under The Silver Lake" narrows it's focus on Sam and Sarah, who share only a few intoxicating moments of screen time before she suddenly vanishes and he begins his obsessive quest to find her. Lanky, curious and often impenetrable in action and intention, Sam’s demeanor required a lead actor who could bring depth to the Los Angeles archetype of the Hollywood striver.
Los Angeles is a mixture of beauty and horror, and extreme wealth and it's opposite, which is apparent everywhere you look. It’s beautiful out here, but there are some ugly spaces as well. There are mansions in 'The Hollywood Hills', but you might be looking at them from your small apartment in the Flats, like Sam does. There’s a separation in L.A., one of the key elements of film noir; degrees of wealth and striving, and the crimes that can occur when people struggle to achieve wealth. You've to discover the city through the movies, watching film noirs and old musicals. Los Angeles is built upon dreams as much as nightmares, and Sam experiences his share of each in the form of his vision of Sarah frolicking in a swimming pool, a loving but distorted nod to Marilyn Monroe in "Something’s Got to Give", the unfinished 1962 movie that abandoned production at the time of Monroe’s tragic death. "Under The Silver Lake" is awash with similar tributes, nods, and emulations of classic Hollywood movies and stars.
Since we experience the movie from Sam’s 'POV', the film tries to refect Sam’s emotional state into the photography and create a version of Los Angeles that’s both familiar, but somewhat unique and mysterious. Overall the film creates a style that shadows and deep contrast and uses references from "The Third Man", "A Touch of Evil" and "The Big Sleep" , at the same time delivering a stylized but motivated look that wasn’t completely a period feel. Hardcore cinephiles will detect echoes of classic Hollywood movies by Hitchcock, Cukor, De Palma, Borzage, and many others. It's a part of that time-honored tradition of highlighting how weird and beautiful and scary L.A. can be. You recognize a certain spot at a certain point in time, and then you see it in real life and maybe a building has changed, or it has somehow stayed the same. There’s something really nice about contributing to the movie history of Los Angeles in terms of it's locations. Los Angeles is very much a place about movies.
"The Myth Of The American Sleepover" was set in a teenage world, and "It Follows" was a horror movie, incorporating teenage themes. "Under The Silver Lake" shows Los Angeles over a decade ago. The common thread in all three works is the unique but relatable worlds Mitchell creates in which these stories take place. Both of Mitchell’s previous features employing a meticulous attention to detail in everything from yearbook inscriptions and photos in "The Myth Of The American Sleepover" to the anachronistic cellphone that became a curiosity among devotees of "It Follows". "Under The Silver Lake" amplifes this handcrafted tendency to include such innovative concoctions as the titular zine, the retro cereal box that helps Sam crack one of the movie’s most confounding codes, and promotional materials for "Jesus & The Brides Of Dracula". It's a triumph of handcrafted indie-culture world building, anchoring Sam in a very specifc world of hipster consumerism. What's real and what’s fake, and our collective obsession with finding the truth amid what we’ve been told to believe.
"Under The Silver Lake" is a man’s quest for meaning and a man’s refusal to accept the surface of things. It's a story of a down-on-his-heels Los Angeleno who tumbles down a rabbit hole of intrigue while investigating the disappearance of a beautiful woman he discovers in the swimming pool of his 'East Side' apartment complex. "Under The Silver Lake" is a sprawling and unexpected detective thriller about 'The Dream Factory' and it's denizens dog killers, aspiring actors, glitter-pop groups, nightlife personalities, It girls, memorabilia hoarders, masked seductresses, homeless gurus, reclusive songwriters, sex workers, wealthy socialites, topless neighbors, and the shadowy billionaires foating above and underneath it all. Mining a noir tradition extending from "Kiss Me Deadly" to "Mulholland Drive", the film uses the topography of Los Angeles as a backdrop for a deeper exploration into the hidden meaning and secret codes buried within the things we love. It's a wildly inventive, richly layered thriller, designed to be devoured, debated, decoded, and debunked; preferably across multiple viewings.
At the heart of "Under The Silver Lake" is the labyrinthine conspiracy Sam discovers through secret codes embedded in advertising, songs and movies; a real-life phenomenon that has transfxed pop-culture devotees since the heyday of 'The Beatles'. Like "The Da Vinci Code" butting heads with "Kiss Me Deadly", the film delivers a mind-bending comedy-thriller that keeps unrav- eling new twists with each dizzying turn of the plot, or each reverse spin of “Turning Teeth", the fictional 'East Side' glitter-pop group that's a recurring presence in the movie. The film weaves together a story of conspiracy, corruption, and secret codes in the showbiz capital of the world. A world of sunlit swimming pools, dark shadows, secret passages, debutante daughters, mysterious murders; the iconic imagery of a city built on dreams and moving pictures.
“Under The Silver Lake" is about the hidden meaning buried within the things we love, the movies, music, and magazines that define our culture. Pop culture is now the only culture, a lake we all swim in. But there are things happening, unbeknownst to us, beneath the surface of the waterline. The film has a sharply observed sense of the world we live in now, with our collective interest in conspiracies and power dynamics. It also has some cinematic touchstones from classic Hollywood movies. There's something special about the way the script taps into cultural elements past and present. The film has many hidden elements waiting to be discovered. Some are literal and some are thematic. The film avoids providing obvious answers, and that’s intentional. The story explores a world of hidden messages in everyday objects and products. The movie itself is layer upon layer of secrets and codes. You might not figure everything out on first viewing, but after subsequent views you come to see the bigger story.