Is this the Lynchiest thing David Lynch has ever done?
A train station is on lock down. Inside a station cafe, a hard-boiled homicide detective (Lynch) interrogates Jack, a murder suspect.
And Jack just happens to be a capuchin monkey in a tailored suit.
That sentence is inherently funny and yet it is not played for laughs at all. This short film, shot in black and white, takes itself very seriously. In its universe, this sort of thing is unremarkable. But in mine, in ours, it’s actually not so much funny as unsettling. Jack is a monkey but visual effects grant him a human mouth. He sounds rather like a Speak N Spell. But his words are quite grave; Jack is a tormented little monkey.
What Did Jack Do? is the film equivalent of an edible – trippy as hell. And yet it’s so simple that it’s easily followed, even while you’re constantly nervous-giggling, wondering what the hell is going on.
All great directors are voyeurs. They watch things intently in order to convey life authentically. But Lynch is also an exhibitionist. He likes to expose things, always exploring life’s dirty pockets and turning them inside out for all the world to see.
In this, it feels like Lynch is unpacking one of cinema’s favourite cliches: the interrogation. He plays with the language, the pace, the intensity. In casting a monkey he is rather blatantly pointing out the absurdity of what we’ve come to expect in a police procedural. He’s blowing that shit up, and as a lover of all things unexpected and bizarre, these were 17 minutes that have engaged me in ways that most full-length films do not.