For better or for worse, Netflix in all it’s cinematic controversies has brought with it an immediacy to contemporary film. No longer are studios bound to marketing schedules and auteur’s restricted to platform barriers. Whether it be the undeniably awful Cloverfield Paradox being released immediately after a Super-Bowl advertisement onto Netflix, or David Lynch’s (very) recent ‘What did Jack do?’, a criminal interrogation between a monkey and the director himself.
To mark his 74th birthday Lynch celebrated in a style only he himself could pull off, by interviewing and interrogating a talking monkey called Jack. For all his monochrome fur, Jack is an adorable suited figure with an elderly, borderline senile, dreamlike tone, akin to the Twin Peaks red-room dwarf. Though for the conversations stiff, seemingly constant dead-ends, Lynch upholds the situation, providing an interesting if totally bizarre back-and-forth.
Such creates an otherworldly essence, a reality-crossing peep show into David Lynch’s ‘Zootopia’. As with much of Lynch’s surreal work, the indecision of whether to laugh or cry results in a recoil of sorts. Jack’s manic anthropomorphic ramblings quickly descend from charming into peculiarly creepy, all before his troubles are shrilled out in bizarre, yet purely ‘Lynchian’ song. Though despite its nature, Jack’s performance is strangely melancholy, like a once-famed film star who has lost his way. For all we know, in this eerie reality, that may well be the case; a theory accentuated by the inclusion of ‘Jack Cruz’ as ‘himself’ in the credits.
The film closes as Jack chases after his lover, a chicken named Toototabon, brought to life in Jan Svankmajer inspired stop-motion. Lynch quickly follows and Jack’s fate is sealed offscreen. Whilst little can be taken from this stylistic experimental short, Lynch’s prominence remains, ‘What did Jack do?’ is a reminder of his ever presence in new media.
The surrealist pioneer is back, even if only for a short time.