In David Robert Mitchell’s new UNDER THE SILVER LAKE, every clue leads deeper down a rabbit hole toward an endpoint that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the beginning point. In a film as referential as Mitchell’s, that structure seems purposefully lifted from Roman Polanski’s 1974 classic CHINATOWN, another sunlit noir about a private investigator who starts with a simple philandering case and winds up peeking into a secret battle for control of the city. In this half of our pairing of the two films, we dig into CHINATOWN’s legacy and how to reconcile it with the Polanski Problem, examine how its story and performances diverge from the noir tradition, and consider whether its twisty mystery ultimately lands in a satisfying place. Plus, some feedback inspired by our recent episodes on US and VELVET BUZZSAW.
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