David Lynch Surprise Dropped A Short Film On Netflix In Which He Interrogates A Monkey

Monday is David Lynch’s 74th birthday, and instead of us getting him a gift, he gave one to us. Netflix subscribers woke up to find a surprise film drop from one of cinema and television’s great oddballs (and, as of last summer, Oscar-winner). Called What Did Jack Do?, it runs 17 minutes, it’s in black-and-white, and it features this succinct plot description: “In a locked down train station, a homicide detective conducts an interview with a tormented monkey.” How predictably unpredictable!

Lynch himself plays the investigator, sitting in a dimly lit interrogation room out of a grimy ’40s noir across from a surly, talking capuchin monkey. Eventually the two get around to talking about a dead man named Max, a suspect named Shelby, a lady friend named Sally, and the chicken our simian maybe-murderer loves.

But the majority of What Did Jack Do? finds our two leads swapping non-sequiturs. They are many, and they include:

“There’s an elephant in the room. I want you to stop talking turkey.”
“I would’ve laid my life on the line for any chicken or rooster.”
“I’m a plastic bag specialist.”
“I know why the chicken crossed the road.”
“Shelby was banging Sally like there was no tomorrow and yesterday was gone.”
“I once sliced a gator that was going after a rabbit friend.”
“I’d never been with a chicken before.”

Eventually the monkey signs a song, co-written by Lynch.

The monkey’s mouth moves with the aid of the kind of on-the-cheap CGI Lynch used extensively in Twin Peaks: The Return, where the lack of slickness increases the weird-out factor. As to who’s voicing Jack the capuchin, the credits aren’t terribly helpful, listing “Jack Cruz as himself.” The chicken, which makes a cameo towards the end, also gets a credit.

What Did Jack Do? actually isn’t new; it was made in 2016, and is only being made available now, on its maker’s birthday. It’s classic Lynch: randomly weird but also deeply sincere, and, ultimately, menacing; maybe you never thought you’d feel something for a lovelorn monkey accused of murder, but such is the power of David Lynch. And it’s yet another case of the legendary eccentric poisoning the mainstream with an entertainment no one else could have conceived, from his TV shows to his occasional commercials. Speaking of which, if you enjoyed What Did Jack Do?, perhaps you’d like to chase it with his genuinely disturbing PSA about littering from 1991, which you may watch below.

You can watch Lynch’s What Did Jack Do? on Netflix.