David Lynch stares down an unlikely murder suspect — a monkey — in his new Netflix short film, What Did Jack Do? The Twin Peaks co-creator also wrote, directed and edited the 17-minute project, which is available to stream now.
The film, shot in a crackling black and white, follows Lynch as he interrogates the disturbed, suit-clad monkey (“Jack Cruz”) in a train station. Between cinematic puffs of a cigarette, the filmmaker grills the accused criminal with clichéd hardball detective questions, often themed around animals (“There’s an elephant in the room,” “I’d like you to start talking turkey”). Jack responds with deranged nonsense and evasive one-liners (“I’ll see you and raise you five”), all pouring out of a digitally imposed mouth.
In classic Lynch fashion, the scenes are surreal, disturbing and hilarious. The peak arrives toward the end when Jack sings a slow, saccharine love song while swaying under a spotlight: “True love’s flame burns so bright/It’s love delight/Once upon a time, we danced/Once upon a time, we took a chance,” he croons.
Lynch, who received an Honorary Oscar in October, hasn’t helmed a traditional theatrical feature since 2006’s Inland Empire. However, the director (and many critics) categorized the latest Twin Peaks project as a film split into episodic segments: In December, the prestigious French magazine Cahiers du Cinéma ranked Twin Peaks: The Return as the decade’s best film.