Jan 25, 2020

What Did Jack Do? (David Lynch, 2017 / 2020)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼

During the 17 minutes of his short What Did Jack Do? which premiered in Paris three years ago and was recently released on Netflix, David Lynch redefines the 'monkey business' phrase as the activity that marries silliness to first-class filmmaking, and neo-noir to surreal comedy. Casting a stylishly dressed Capuchin as a murder suspect, Jack (of many trades, one of them being a plastic bag specialist), and himself as a hard-boiled, heavy-smoking detective who may be Gordon Cole of a parallel universe, he turns the cinema's most enduring cliché - a police interrogation scene - into an absurdist battle of wits that is simultaneously unsettling and hilarious. The reason thereof lies not only in Jack's human mouth overlaid on his adorable face in a distracting, outdated-VFX fashion, but also in the lines coming out of the very same gob, carried on a distorted voice most probably owned by Lynch himself. (Not to mention the vintage-esque song our little perpetrator bursts into during the procedural's climax!)

Set on a train station 'crawling with hungry passengers and cops', as we are informed by a waitress (Emily Stofle) who brings a cup of black coffee (which the director is obsessed with), the film boasts some delightfully moody B&W cinematography (kudos to Scott Ressler), as well as the austere 'industrial' production design that couldn't get more Lynchian. The complete absence of music until the aforementioned interlude that, by the way, is dedicated to a hen named Toototabon, creates the atmosphere of palpable, yet illogical tension akin to an irksome dream you don't want to end. And once it does, you're left with many questions that need no answers, not even when a red herring becomes a red rabbit...

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