Lost River

"Weak"

Lost River Review


With his writing-directing debut, Ryan Gosling shows audacious skill as a visual artist but never quite manages to recount a story that grabs hold of the audience. It's a stunningly gorgeous film packed with strong, earthy performances from a starry cast playing against type. But there's no momentum at all to the narrative, which is packed with random symbolism that never quite resolves into anything either meaningful or emotionally engaging.

Lost River is a decaying, abandoned city on the edge of a lake created by damming up a river and flooding another town. In what's left of their neighbourhood, Billy (Christina Hendricks) lives in her family home with her sons: a toddler and a teen named Bones (Iain De Caestecker), who helps support the household by scavenging for copper in the vacant buildings nearby. But he's encroaching on the turf of self-proclaimed gangster Bully (Matt Smith), who is intent on exacting vicious revenge. Meanwhile, next-door neighbour Rat (Ronan) is caring for her delusional granny (Barbara Steele) and trying to help Bones. And when the new bank manager Dave (Ben Mendelsohn) turns down Billy's cry for help, she takes a job at his seedy underworld nightclub alongside Cat (Eva Mendes).

Aside from some blood-soaked cabaret, what goes on in this nightclub remains rather mysterious, as Billy finds higher-paying work in the purple-hued basement fetish rooms. But then everything in this film is enigmatic, as Gosling deliberately refuses to connect the dots. This gives the film an intriguing David Lynch-style tone, although it lacks Lynch's eerie resonance. There's also a touch of John Waters-style trashiness and Terrence Malick-style natural beauty, plus the clear influence of Gosling's heavily stylised past directors Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive and Only God Forgives) and Derek Cianfrance (Blue Monday and The Place Beyond the Pines). In other words, almost everything in this film feels like a reference to another movie, but it's expertly assembled to look fabulous from start to finish, with some seriously striking sequences along the way.

So it's a real shame the story never materialises. Everything rolls along like a string of disconnected scenes and random images, beautiful to look at but devoid of any proper meaning. Yes, the premise is a nod to the devastation of post-recession America, echoed in a cleverly eerie nod to Sunset Blvd (and Great Expectations), pining about the good old days. So with its heightened cinematic sense of reality, the film is a lurid fairy tale. There may not be enough actual substance to make it very watchable, but it's packed with moments that offer promise for Gosling's filmmaking future.


Lost River Trailer

 



Lost River

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 95 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 1st April 2015

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Bold Films, Marc Platt Productions, Phantasma

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 28%
Fresh: 5 Rotten: 13

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , Michel Litvak, , Adam Siegel, Jeffrey Stott

Starring: as Billy, as Rat, as Cat, as Bully, as Bones, as Dave, as Belladonna

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