David Robert Mitchell Says There’s A Secret Mystery Hidden Within The Secret Mystery Of ‘Under The Silver Lake’ — Cannes Q&A

Keep an eye out for odd symbols dotted throughout, and keep an ear on the bird; there’s a secret mystery for the audience alone to solve sewn into the fabric of David Robert Mitchell’s Under the Silver Lake, which premiered in Cannes’ official competition last night, and the director tells Deadline all the clues are there to solve it. Though it might take multiple viewings to catch them all. “You’ll probably have to see it a few more than two times to figure it all out,”…

Keep an eye out for odd symbols dotted throughout, and keep an ear on the bird; there’s a secret mystery for the audience alone to solve sewn into the fabric of David Robert Mitchell’s Under the Silver Lake, which premiered in Cannes’ official competition last night, and the director tells Deadline all the clues are there to solve it. Though it might take multiple viewings to catch them all. “You’ll probably have to see it a few more than two times to figure it all out,”…

Cannes 2018: No Matter the Backlash, This Year’s Festival Gives Us Hope for the Future of Cinema — Analysis

It may not be a perfect year, but there’s still plenty to appreciate from the lineup so far.

As the 2018 Cannes Film Festival enters its final stretch, IndieWire critics Eric Kohn and David Ehrlich trade notes on some of the big takeaways so far.

ERIC: It was a strange feeling, a few hours after watching a Chinese movie that experiments with perceptions of memory and time, to sit down for “Star Wars.” But that’s Cannes: One moment, you’re experiencing a visionary work like Bi Gan’s Un Certain Regard entry “A Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” which turns into a 3D long take in its second half; the next, you’re watching the latest Hollywood blockbuster — in this case, “Solo,” which premiered in the very same theater screening films from around the world all week. 

“Solo” may have been the single studio entry in this year’s festival, but if it was there to take the temperature on American commercial cinema, it wasn’t the best sign. As I sat through this unnecessary, bland entry in the ever-expanding “Star Wars” EU, I felt like I was watching some sort of computer simulation designed for financiers to get a sense for what a young Han Solo would look like — a pre-viz version of the real deal. But here’s the upside: This strange, mechanical variation on an iconic movie character reduced to a baby-faced impersonation actually gave me hope for international cinema as a whole. At Cannes, where we watch a range of movies from around the world, “Star Wars” stands out as a very small piece of the overall equation. 

I was riveted by Bi Gan’s film, but also quite satisfied with “BlacKkKlansman,” Spike Lee’s best movie in years and possibly his most commercial in ages, which tackles modern-day bigotry through a historical lens. In another world entirely, the other American film in competition here is “Under the Silver Lake,” David Robert Mitchell’s sophisticated and playful film noir pastiche. 

Both movies reflect the idiosyncratic sensibilities of their creators, who hail from different generations and mindsets, but together they offer a striking contrast to the “Star Wars” master narrative of American movies: the idea that the most impactful work must be reduced to formula for mass consumption. Instead, they provide a snapshot of a country that still manages to have a few companies willing to support auteur directors. Focus Features produced “Blackkklansman,” while “Silver Lake” was financed by A24, and both companies are leaving serious dents at this year’s festival.

“Under the Silver Lake”

Focus also bought opening-night entry “Everybody Knows,” a decent if melodramatic thriller from Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, while A24 picked up Gaspar Noé’s trippy LSD-gone-wrong dance saga “Climax.” These movies won’t work for everyone, but they reflect the precise intentions of their creators so well that they reinforce the value of celebrating filmmaking as an art form on its own terms, rather than a dated medium shrinking in the shadow of television. That’s to say nothing of “Border,” a wacky fantasy film about a liaison between an immigration agent and a supernatural being too bizarre to spoil here, which was picked up by NEON shortly after its premiere. Despite the general weakness of Hollywood product, and the prevailing sense that Netflix may signal a future for movies very different from the one on display here, Cannes is once again giving me hope.

Of course, the festival really stumbled on the representation front, and the lack of more than three female directors in competition is an oversight that no single rousing screening can rectify. It was a promising start when Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux signed a resolution to move toward gender parity in the programming, because anyone who knows anything about movies knows that there are a ton of qualified films directed by women that deserve maximum exposure each year. Nevertheless, it won’t change that programming misstep this year, or the history of oversights from the past 71 years highlighted at this edition with a dramatic and powerful showing of women directors on the red carpet. So all we can do for now is look at the films that Cannes has given to us this time around, and fortunately, there’s still plenty to appreciate there.

DAVID: I was as disappointed as anyone else not to see Claire Denis’ name on the schedule, and I was really disappointed that Mia Hansen-Løve didn’t have a new film ready to show, as this would have been the perfect time to promote her to her long-deserved Competition status. Beyond the women-director issue, there’s also the whole Netflix brouhaha, which now — after what feels like 359 consecutive of mainlining movies directly into my bloodshot eyeballs — kinda feels like ancient news (really though, “Roma” is the only one of the company’s movies that feels absent). 

“The World Is Yours”

But here we are in the South of France, watching the finest in contemporary international cinema, and life is pretty good in our little bubble. There may be fewer big names than usual on the Croisette (though let’s not forget new films by Jean-Luc Godard, Lars von Trier, and Jia Zhangke all premiered in a 72-hour period), but is that really such a bad thing? As the world’s most prestigious festival, Cannes is inherently more geared towards exaltation than discovery — more interested in worshipping the old gods than anointing the new — but what’s the point of a film festival if it doesn’t show you something that you’ve never seen before? 

This year’s festival has been all about striking a balance between the known and the unknown, and I’ve been loving almost every minute of it. It’s the perfect vibe for a time that is constantly forcing us to look at the world from a new perspective, and to rethink everything it is that we think we know. It’s why one of my most unexpected pleasures of the fest has been Julio Hernández Cordón’s “Buy Me a Revolver”, which distilled Mexico’s cartel violence to its core by recasting it as a post-apocalyptic fable. It’s why I swooned over Romain Gavras’ “The World Is Yours,” a delightful heist comedy that rebukes the “Scarface” mystique from the inside out. And it’s why I was so thrilled (even proud?) to see filmmakers like Alice Rohrwacher (“Happy as Lazzaro”) and Bi Gan push themselves to new heights, using the shining promise of Cannes as motivation to reach for the stars. 

Most thrilling of all may have been the opportunity to rediscover some of the world’s most well-established filmmakers. My greatest joy of the fest so far has been watching the great Kore-eda Hirokazu deconstruct the familiar patois of his humane family dramas, as his Palme-tipped “Shoplifters” dissects the bonds that bind people together in order to see what gives them their strength. Ditto “BlacKkKlansman,” which feels like the work of an artist who’s been freshly revitalized by all the horrible things that are happening right now — some people seek shelter in a shitstorm, but Spike runs straight into it with his middle fingers held high. 

"The House That Jack Built"

“The House That Jack Built”

And then there’s Lars von Trier. Oh, Lars. The Kanye West of Cannes (and some people surely feel like that comparison is mighty unfair to Kanye West). “The House That Jack Built” won’t be winning any audience awards any time soon, but I was deeply taken with this epic serial-killer saga as more than just another trip through the abattoir of the filmmaker’s anxieties. For me, it’s one of the most honest, self-critical, and even backhandedly contrite movies I’ve ever seen — an artist in conversation with the violence and limitations of his own genius. And the whole thing builds to such a devilish glimmer of optimism. If even Lars von Trier can be upbeat about the future — the future of people, the future of film, and the future of the people who make them — who are we to think that we’re reaching the end of the road?

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Topher Grace: ‘I Had Enough Money’ From ‘That ’70s Show’ to Stop Making Studio Films and Start Working With Auteurs

Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” and David Robert Mitchell’s “Under the Silver Lake” are the only two American films competing at Cannes, and Topher Grace stars in both of them.

You wouldn’t expect former sitcom star Topher Grace to be one of the faces of American cinema at the world’s most prestigious film festival, but such is the case at Cannes this year. The actor appears in the only two U.S. films competing for the Palme d’Or, Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” and David Robert Mitchell’s “Under the Silver Lake,” but coming to Cannes for the first time with two high profile movies is no accident on his part. As Grace told IndieWire’s Eric Kohn at Cannes during a conversation at the American Pavilion, working with auteurs like Lee and Mitchell has become his golden rule when signing on to projects.

“You see a film like ‘It Follows’ and you say to yourself, ‘I’ll do anything to work like an auteur like this,'” Grace said. “The same thing is true with Spike. For me, five or six years ago, I looked around at my life and I had just met the woman who is now my wife. I was feeling really confident and good, and it occurred to me that I was really lucky to have been on a sitcom for a lot of years. I realized then that I didn’t really need a lot more money.”

The realization, which he admitted sounds terribly cocky, changed the direction of Grace’s career. The actor starred as Eric Forman for seven seasons of the popular Fox comedy series “That ’70s Show,” which continues to air in syndication on cable. Grace remembered telling his agents, “I don’t want to do anything but work with auteurs,” which didn’t go over so well. Grace was told that making this choice would mean taking smaller parts for not a lot of money, but a big paycheck was no longer a concern for Grace.

“I didn’t care [about the size of the role or the salary]. It’s what I wanted to do with my life,” Grace said. “The most wonderful thing about having two movies here at Cannes, which is a total coincidence, is that I feel like it’s a confirmation of how I’ve been working with for the past few years. I just want to work with people where I see their film and go: ‘I will do whatever your next film is.” I don’t have to sit there and decide if it’s going to be good or not.”

Lee and Mitchell are the latest names Grace has added to his list of auteur collaborations, a list that also includes Christopher Nolan (“Interstellar”) and David Michôd (“War Machine”). Grace also had a supporting turn opposite Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford in “Zodiac” screenwriter James Vanderbilt’s directorial debut “Truth.” Although most moviegoers will always associate the actor with his infamous turn as Eddie Brock/Venom in “Spider-Man 3,” Grace no longer has a desire to be a part of studio tentpoles.

“I don’t want to slam it, because it really works for some people, but I think it’s financially motivated,” Grace said about stepping away from studio films. “If you play the same thing over and over again, it’s very easy to make it a commodity: ‘We know what that guy does, so we can pay him to do it over and over again.’ It’s not financially a good decision to keep changing it up on the audience, but for me personally it gives me the chance to work with creatives. You feel so much more alive than doing things that are preprogrammed.”

Grace’s role in “Under the Silver Lake” is minor, but his work as Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke in “BlacKkKlansman” earned rave reviews after the film premiered at Cannes. Both films open in theaters this summer, with “Lake” landing on June 22 and “BlacKkKlansman” opening August 10. Other projects Grace has lined up for the future include the Blumhouse thriller “Delirium.”

The Renaissance Of Topher Grace: Two Movies In Cannes & A Feted Turn As David Duke In ‘BlacKkKlansman’ – Cannes Studio

It’s rare for a Cannes first-timer to come to the festival with more than one project to promote, but that’s what Topher Grace has done these past two days, with roles in Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman and David Robert Mitchell’s Under the Silver Lake, the…

It's rare for a Cannes first-timer to come to the festival with more than one project to promote, but that's what Topher Grace has done these past two days, with roles in Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman and David Robert Mitchell's Under the Silver Lake, the two American movies with competition berths this year. His turn in the latter is small, but all part of Grace’s grand plan to turn his attention towards auteur directors, he told Deadline at our Cannes Studio. It began when…

‘Under the Silver Lake’ Review: Andrew Garfield Soars in Baffling and Inventive L.A. Noir About White Male Privilege

David Robert Mitchell continues to turn familiar genres inside out with this daring look at a young man’s obsession with a mystery that leads back to his own life.

It takes about an hour before someone in “Under the Silver Lake” puts the movie’s labyrinthine trajectory in perspective. “There’s an entire generation of men obsessed with video games and secret codes,” he says. Indeed: In David Robert Mitchell’s baffling and often brilliant L.A. neo-noir, Sam (Andrew Garfield) stumbles through a convoluted mystery where the puzzle pieces lead back to his own obsessions.

Like Mitchell’s two other features, “Under the Silver Lake” transforms a familiar genre into a unique context, in this case channeling the shaggy-dog detective story into the ambivalence of a millennial who keeps losing the narrative thread of his own life. The movie personifies the male gaze, but it’s also conspicuously about that, deconstructing privilege more than lingering in its confines.

After all, this is the story of a philandering white guy whose obsession with his sultry neighbor Sarah (Riley Keough) sends him on a bizarre subterranean adventure because he probably has nothing better to do. Sam’s epiphanies about his privileged circumstances matter more than any of the breadcrumbs he chases through a loopy plot that takes its time to wander across two hours and 20 minutes. It’s a bizarre and outrageous drama grounded in the consistency of Garfield’s astonishment at every turn.

Writer-director Mitchell’s third feature is a tricky gamble. Even as it takes the form of blunt homage to the loopy Los Angeles noirs ranging from “The Long Goodbye” to “Mulholland Drive,” it remains within the confines of Mitchell’s own distinctive style, which echoes familiar genres like enchanting, dreamy reflections of the real thing. From the John Hughes pastiche of “The Myth of the American Sleepover” to the allegorical sexual horrors of “It Follows,” Mitchell fuses elegant pastiche with alluring dramas about young people coming to grips with their own solipsism.

“Under the Silver Lake,” an homage to Hollywood history and classic films, features the kind of overreaching typical of young filmmakers with confidence to spare. However, its dogged commitment to chart a sprawling trajectory doesn’t always hold together, and often leads to frustrating dead ends. Mitchell salutes his inspirations with such self-conscious commitment they’re practically written on the screen, starting with an opening bit right out of “Rear Window”: Sam gazes out his balcony at the girl next door and another exuberant neighbor, drawn into mini-dramas as if he owns them.

It’s the male gaze incarnate, but even as Sam later finds himself standing by Hitchcock’s gravesite, “Under the Silver Lake” salutes its precedents while funneling them into a more singular work. It’s as if Sam got lost in the ephemera of movies, gaming, and other analog media until they dictated his entire reality. This becomes the most obvious factor in sorting through the movie’s purpose, and promises a payoff beyond the stoner-ific haze of each ludicrous twist.

"Under the Silver Lake"

“Under the Silver Lake”

But there are plenty of those. As Mitchell oscillates from blinding sunny days to murky nights around town, “Under the Silver Lake” wanders from the familiar signposts of central Los Angeles to stranger, lyrical riffs on the real thing: homeless tunnels with their own dust-caked king, clues buried in the confines of a Nintendo Power magazine, and a bust of James Dean in Griffith Park. Sam launches his scavenger hunt after Sarah goes missing, and he determines a tenuous connection to the discovery of charred remains belonging to enigmatic local billionaire Jefferson Severence, as well as menacing tales about a local dog killer.

The sense of peril sits at odds with the mundanity of Sam’s existence: Nothing is safe. Conspiracies lurk behind every Post-it note and discarded pizza box. Also, Sam has four days to pay his rent, and it’s not looking good.

Lost in an adventure rather than clarifying his priorities, he’s often faced with reality checks. “It’s silly wasting your energy on something that doesn’t matter,” someone tells him, but Sam’s priorities have their own logic. He’s kind of lame that way, though women find him appealing enough for the same reason. It’s here that “Under the Silver Lake” often stumbles, reducing the women in its sprawling ensemble to manic, sensual beings who find Sam enchanting for unknown reasons. There’s the wide-eyed fuck buddy (Riki Lindhome); a seductive actress-turned-prostitute (Callie Hernandez); a glittery hippie (Grace Van Patten); and the topless parrot lady next door. They all exist to animate various aspects of Sam’s personality, while possessing little of their own.

While the movie falls short of ironing out its representational hiccups, it does turn Sam’s own masculinity into a plot device, as if his tenuous relationship to women helps him obscure his own shortcomings. However, David’s problem with women is just one factor in a tapestry of half-formed conceits that dangle, unresolved, in Sam’s messy narrative. The movie does maintain an inspired cartoonish exuberance; a local comic-book artist (played with expert deadpan by Patrick Fischer) wrote a black-and-white zine that provides “Under the Silver Lake” with its title, and the the comic comes to life in an animated sequence reminiscent of Charles Burns’ dark, surrealist, coming-of-age dramas.

“Under the Silver Lake”

The comics explore the origins of the titular neighborhood, its relationship to the silent-film era, and the early stirrings of the dog murders with a blend of real-life history and folklore. Sam instantly believes they explain everything, because why not? “Under the Silver Lake” is ludicrous in its dense assemblage of information, but that sense of an overwhelming existence and elusive answers holds Sam’s plight together.

It takes some time for Mitchell’s reverence for zany L.A. fever dreams to find its own voice, but the movie gains confidence as it moves along, finally landing at a masterful pitch of outrageous inspiration deep into the third act with one of the greatest WTF dream sequences in recent memory. A wizened pianist (Jeremy Bonn) takes credit for every popular song in history, attributing the entirety of counterculture to the machinations of one evil white man. He diagnoses Sam in a single indictment: “Pop culture floats away like tissue paper.”

Aided by cinematographer Mike Gioloukas’ sunny visuals and a searching Disasterpiece score, the movie becomes a bittersweet ode to wanting answers from an indifferent world overwhelmed by superficial distractions. The homage can be irritating and some of the transitions work better than others across an unwieldy running time — but even the flaws speak to the movie’s beguiling raison d’être. It’s fascinating to watch Mitchell grasp for a bigger picture with the wild ambition of his scruffy protagonist.

Grade: B+

“Under the Silver Lake” premiered in Official Competition at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. A24 releases it in the U.S. on June 22.

‘Under The Silver Lake’ Film Review: Andrew Garfield Lives Dirtbag Dream in LA Story

How’s this for irony? Those very same qualities that allow “Under The Silver Lake” to so thoroughly evoke both the city of Los Angeles and a certain Angelino lifestyle also turn the film into a bit of a mess. Sprawling, indulgent and with many pockets of pleasure, David Robert Mitchell ‘s film – which premiered Tuesday night in Cannes – is L.A. in the same way that “Apocalypse Now” was Vietnam.

Think of it as “Ready Stoner One,” as it wrangles a rather overwhelming compendium of references, easter-eggs and winks to some of the foundational texts of contemporary millennial culture and offers them as clues in a Galaxy Brain conspiracy.

Channeling Shaggy from “Scooby-Doo,” Andrew Garfield stars as Sam, a grade-A underachiever living the dirtbag dream in (where else but) the city’s Eastside hipster neighborhood of Silver Lake. Rent is long past due and the threat of eviction looms alarmingly close, but Sam’s not too concerned. He’s got bigger fish to fry, like snooping on his topless neighbor and, uh, drinking beer with Topher Grace.

Also Read: Cannes Report, Day 7: Spike Lee Curses Trump; Lars von Trier Sparks Walkouts; Chewbacca Storms Croisette

But all is not well on Glendale Boulevard. A shadowy dog killer is decimating the neighborhood’s many four-legged friends, the city’s most prominent philanthropists are up and vanishing, and Sam has finally met a girl he can vibe with, only for her to ghost him the next day.

Or did she? Because everything in seductive Sarah’s (Riley Keough) apartment has disappeared with her, leaving nothing but a cryptic insignia on the wall. So Sam diligently slips into detective mode, using his limitless supply of parking tickets as notepaper and rounding up all the usual suspects.

This being California’s throbbing hipster heart, those potential leads include alt-rockers, call-girls and aspiring actresses, played by the likes of Grace Van Patten, Riki Lindhome and Zosia Mamet, all of them delivering fresh and funny spins on different local archetypes.

Also Read: The Scene at TheWrap and The Female Quotient’s Cannes Panel on Gender Equity (Photos)

The film is often quite appealing in the scene-to-scene, circling through various well-known landmarks and whichever hilariously extravagant cool-kid bar is in vogue that day. Walking into one crypt-themed watering hole below the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Sam receives a warm welcome from one barely north-of-twenty ingénue. “It’s old music night!,” she exclaims as the opening bars to Cornershop’s “Brimful of Asha” take over and we all cringe, thinking that we didn’t feel that old when that Britpop earworm swept the radio waves of 1997.

So Mitchell can be funny at times, in fact he often is. And those familiar with his previous efforts “The Myth of the American Sleepover” and “It Follows” (both of which premiered at the Critic’s Week sidebar in Cannes) know that he intuitively grasps youth culture, and is able to wring it for tension or pathos.

He’s lost none of his verve here, but has opted to push it into overdrive, maxing out the already generous space of the film’s nearly two-and-a-half-hour runtime. With animated sequences, unresolved sideplots and some devilish set-pieces that are nevertheless wholly peripheral to the overall plot, “Under The Silver Lake” often feels like the product of a talented filmmaker using his first hefty budget to empty a long developed inventory of ideas, throwing them all against the wall to see what sticks.

Also Read: ‘Shoplifters’ Cannes Review: Is the Seventh Time a Charm for Hirokazu Kore-eda?

To the film’s credit, much of the bug-eyed exhaustion it engenders is a deliberate artistic choice. “Under The Silver Lake” is not just a gleeful tour down memory lane, you see; the film has Something To Say.

While documentarian Adam Curtis labeled the phenomenon “HyperNormalisation,” Bob Dylan just stated “something happening here, but you don’t know it is,” and that’s Mitchell’s guiding inspiration. How can one hear the signal through the noise in the age of unceasing stimuli? How does one look for clues embedded in various media at a point where all media, old and new, is available at all times?

These are heady and worthy questions to ask, and it’s a testament to the film’s ambition that it seeks to do so. And hey, maybe the only way to treat those concerns was with an equally expansive, intriguing-if-not-quite satisfying film. Just like L.A., I suppose. Lots of great places to visit, but god help you once you get lost.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Shoplifters’ Cannes Review: Is the Seventh Time a Charm for Hirokazu Kore-eda?

‘The House That Jack Built’ Film Review: The Real Shocker Is How Dull Lars von Trier’s Film Is

‘Deadpool 2’ Film Review: Ryan Reynolds Gives His All to a Joke Told the Second Time

‘Asako I & II’ Film Review: Leisurely Japanese Drama Explores Nature of Love

‘BlacKkKlansman’ Cannes Review: Spike Lee Looks Back – and Forward – in Anger

How’s this for irony? Those very same qualities that allow “Under The Silver Lake” to so thoroughly evoke both the city of Los Angeles and a certain Angelino lifestyle also turn the film into a bit of a mess. Sprawling, indulgent and with many pockets of pleasure, David Robert Mitchell ‘s film – which premiered Tuesday night in Cannes – is L.A. in the same way that “Apocalypse Now” was Vietnam.

Think of it as “Ready Stoner One,” as it wrangles a rather overwhelming compendium of references, easter-eggs and winks to some of the foundational texts of contemporary millennial culture and offers them as clues in a Galaxy Brain conspiracy.

Channeling Shaggy from “Scooby-Doo,” Andrew Garfield stars as Sam, a grade-A underachiever living the dirtbag dream in (where else but) the city’s Eastside hipster neighborhood of Silver Lake. Rent is long past due and the threat of eviction looms alarmingly close, but Sam’s not too concerned. He’s got bigger fish to fry, like snooping on his topless neighbor and, uh, drinking beer with Topher Grace.

But all is not well on Glendale Boulevard. A shadowy dog killer is decimating the neighborhood’s many four-legged friends, the city’s most prominent philanthropists are up and vanishing, and Sam has finally met a girl he can vibe with, only for her to ghost him the next day.

Or did she? Because everything in seductive Sarah’s (Riley Keough) apartment has disappeared with her, leaving nothing but a cryptic insignia on the wall. So Sam diligently slips into detective mode, using his limitless supply of parking tickets as notepaper and rounding up all the usual suspects.

This being California’s throbbing hipster heart, those potential leads include alt-rockers, call-girls and aspiring actresses, played by the likes of Grace Van Patten, Riki Lindhome and Zosia Mamet, all of them delivering fresh and funny spins on different local archetypes.

The film is often quite appealing in the scene-to-scene, circling through various well-known landmarks and whichever hilariously extravagant cool-kid bar is in vogue that day. Walking into one crypt-themed watering hole below the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Sam receives a warm welcome from one barely north-of-twenty ingénue. “It’s old music night!,” she exclaims as the opening bars to Cornershop’s “Brimful of Asha” take over and we all cringe, thinking that we didn’t feel that old when that Britpop earworm swept the radio waves of 1997.

So Mitchell can be funny at times, in fact he often is. And those familiar with his previous efforts “The Myth of the American Sleepover” and “It Follows” (both of which premiered at the Critic’s Week sidebar in Cannes) know that he intuitively grasps youth culture, and is able to wring it for tension or pathos.

He’s lost none of his verve here, but has opted to push it into overdrive, maxing out the already generous space of the film’s nearly two-and-a-half-hour runtime. With animated sequences, unresolved sideplots and some devilish set-pieces that are nevertheless wholly peripheral to the overall plot, “Under The Silver Lake” often feels like the product of a talented filmmaker using his first hefty budget to empty a long developed inventory of ideas, throwing them all against the wall to see what sticks.

To the film’s credit, much of the bug-eyed exhaustion it engenders is a deliberate artistic choice. “Under The Silver Lake” is not just a gleeful tour down memory lane, you see; the film has Something To Say.

While documentarian Adam Curtis labeled the phenomenon “HyperNormalisation,” Bob Dylan just stated “something happening here, but you don’t know it is,” and that’s Mitchell’s guiding inspiration. How can one hear the signal through the noise in the age of unceasing stimuli? How does one look for clues embedded in various media at a point where all media, old and new, is available at all times?

These are heady and worthy questions to ask, and it’s a testament to the film’s ambition that it seeks to do so. And hey, maybe the only way to treat those concerns was with an equally expansive, intriguing-if-not-quite satisfying film. Just like L.A., I suppose. Lots of great places to visit, but god help you once you get lost.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Shoplifters' Cannes Review: Is the Seventh Time a Charm for Hirokazu Kore-eda?

'The House That Jack Built' Film Review: The Real Shocker Is How Dull Lars von Trier's Film Is

'Deadpool 2' Film Review: Ryan Reynolds Gives His All to a Joke Told the Second Time

'Asako I & II' Film Review: Leisurely Japanese Drama Explores Nature of Love

'BlacKkKlansman' Cannes Review: Spike Lee Looks Back – and Forward – in Anger

Cannes Film Review: ‘Under the Silver Lake’

When I tell you that “Under the Silver Lake,” David Robert Mitchell’s seductive and disturbing Los Angeles head-trip noir, is basically a sustained homage to David Lynch, and that Mitchell achieves the exact look and mood and pace and vibe …

When I tell you that “Under the Silver Lake,” David Robert Mitchell’s seductive and disturbing Los Angeles head-trip noir, is basically a sustained homage to David Lynch, and that Mitchell achieves the exact look and mood and pace and vibe he’s going for, you may think that it’s the kind of movie you’re going to […]