What Did Jack Do? (David Lynch, 2017, USA)

What Did Jack Do? is one of David Lynch's more innocent and comical films. The film is a black-and-white short inspired by old school film noirs from the 1940s. Produced by longtime Lynch associate Sabrina S. Sutherland, the film was since acquired by Netflix and released on the platform in 2020 - Lynch's first collaboration with the streaming giant. The film is rather simple. Lynch himself plays a chain-smoking detective and the entirety of the film takes place in a single room. Lynch is interrogating a capuchin monkey named Jack Cruz about a crime of passion. Jack Cruz speaks with a human mouth superimposed over his monkey mouth. The monkey was involved with a chicken named Toototabon. This femme fatale ultimately leads to the monkey Jack's demise. 

The film is not a masterpiece, but it is truly Lynchian in both the style and atmosphere. The characters both speak almost entirely in cliches. This might be Lynch's commentary on the state of screenwriting in general. Lynch is playing with convention here, giving us a scene that we are very familiar with - the cliched Hollywood detective interrogation scene - but adding an element of absurdity by having one of the central characters played by a monkey, and having his love interest be played by a chicken. It is clear also that David Lynch is drawing some parallels between himself and the monkey. They both seem to share the same hair, and it seems that the monkey also has Lynch's voice, albeit distorted. There is a nice song in the film that is purely Lynchian called "True Love's Flame" - another collaboration with his recurring partner Dean Hurley. What Did Jack Do? is not top-level Lynch but is worth watching for a laugh and is nice to revisit from time to time. 


7/10

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