Erotic thriller 'The Canyons' is released today (2nd Aug) starring Lindsay Lohan and James Deen.
The Canyons, Paul Schrader's newly released erotic thriller funded partly by a Kickstarter campaign has been released. During May and June the film raised $159,015, far surpassing its goal of $100,000 in funding. The budget for the film was $250,000 and the actors were reportedly just paid $100 a day with a wardrobe supplied by American Apparel.
However, the storm of disparaging critical reception upon its release has shown that just because a film is crowd funded, it shouldn't give the film a special allowance to be praised.
The movie's uniqueness comes from its super low budget and stylish shots but, rejected by SXSW festival for quality issues, the narrative is not as self-assured as some of the director's previous output. You'd think the film would attract moviegoers by indie appeal but it currently sits at a rather putrid 22% on Rotten Tomatoes as testament to the scores of reviewers who can't find any aspect of the film that they enjoy.
The NY Times can't say enough bad things about the movie, finding fault at every level and remarking "It isn't a good movie in terms of the conventional norms (acting for starters), but it also exhibits a crude integrity."
From previously solid, well-received movies each, you'd think that the production pair-up of Paul Schrader (American Gigolo, Taxi Driver) and screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho, The Informers) would be a successful companionship but the NY Times' Manohla Dargis finds their creative differences too far apart to have any chemistry: "Mr. Schrader is an iconoclast who's long worked outside the mainstream, while Mr. Ellis is a literary outsider who's well known for igniting critical outrage."
Although some interesting techniques, such as having the actors direct their lines into the camera lens and effectively breaking the fourth wall and dividing the film with shots of deserted movie theatres, it is noted that "mostly it feels like Mr. Schrader isn't in control of his material."
Despite being ground into the dirt by scores of other reviewers, Variety gives a different view of the film, praising Ellis and Schrader's pairing: "the signature psychosexual perversity of director Paul Schrader finds its nearly perfect match in novelist Bret Easton Ellis. In fact, they even go as far as to say that The Canyons is his most stylish picture in years, "constantly framed" against "vast" ocean canvasses.
Watch The Canyons Trailer:
Deen, a former porn star, plays filmmaker Christian who makes films to keep his trust fund intact. Lohan plays his actress girlfriend, Tara who embarks on a secret affair with an actor from her past. But Christian becomes aware of her infidelity, which leads the cast into a violent, sexually-charged tour through the dark side of human nature culminating in bloody violence.