What Did Jack Do?

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.

18 thoughts on “What Did Jack Do?

  1. Orca Flotta

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  2. allthingsthriller

    Fascinating. Unexpected, if it were anyone else than Lynch or, maybe, Guillermo del Toro…”He likes to expose things, always exploring life’s dirty pockets and turning them inside out for all the world to see.” Great writing.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. apesdontreadphilosophyblog

      I just watched it. This is the absolute best! Took me a few minutes to keep staring at the monkey’s mouth, to see if it keeps moving with respect to the face. Sometimes it wasn’t perfect. I eventually got over it and was able to enjoy that masterpiece 🙂

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  3. Pingback: O@tNetflix: What Did Jack Do? – Thar She Blows!

  4. thebiscuitfactoryonline

    Brilliant, the epitome of Lynch. I came to care for Jack in that short 17 minutes, so hats off to DL. Bogart came to mind, and noir films, what with the ping-pong dialogue, sepia tints and cigarette smoke. Lots to think about. Why shouldn’t monkeys adore chickens? And sing about them?
    Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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