Under the Silver Lake

Under the Silver Lake ★★★★

A movie lashing out in every direction - those not on its wave length will quickly (and not unjustly) dismiss Andrew Garfield as too unpleasant, a walking embodiment of millennial privilege who you're forced to coexist with for 140 min, while those who are inclined to like it are roundly mocked and indicted by the film's conclusion. The film is mean, bitter and borderline nihilistic, and yet, its incredibly earnest, albeit brutally so.

Admittedly the perspective might be a little too inclined to the masculine, but Mitchell (both the director and this reviewer) deeply resents his masculinity and proceeds to skewer the entitlement, inertia and aggression that characterize the modern white millennial male. Where the film has gotten itself in trouble is with the way in which it presents Garfield, never undermining his character in any explicit way, and in fact encouraging the audience to identify with him. In my mind its an attempt to confront those in the audience who consider men like this their friend, or in fact, are those men. Its a precarious trick to pull off, and I must wonder, even when pulled off, does this trick do much more than scold those who should know better? A point worth considering, particularly in light of the hate this received at festivals, but I do believe there is a bit more value than that. Yes, few people who exist outside the demo being lampooned here need to be reminded that the whitecishetuppermiddleclassmen of the world are indeed, bad, but there's something about the scorched earth approach taken by Mitchell that makes it feel more genuine many recent (better received) movies that aimed to take on masculinity. At this point "men are trash" (or w/e yr preferred variation is) is a trite refrain, but Under the Silver Lake really makes you feel it.

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