Lost River Screen 7 articles

Lost River


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  • A lot of fires burn in Ryan Gosling’s Lost River, consuming the wreckage of houses left standing in America After The Recession. Those images can certainly be striking — houses covered in fire will always look interesting – but that doesn’t mean Gosling is creating images that are potent or which speak to his film’s themes, characters, or really anything. Lost River is little more than “cool shots, bro.”

  • Hey, girl—go with what you know. Actor turned auteur Ryan Gosling’s nutty (and not in a good way) adult fairy tale is like some unholy amalgam of Nicolas Winding Refn’s black-light fantasias and Terrence Malick’s soul-searching allegories. It goes off the rails early and often. You almost have to give it props for how resolutely batshit it is. Almost.

  • There are people who don’t want to meet their favorite stars for fear that who they really are will disappoint. That’s how I feel when some actors direct. I’m scared to know what they’re really into or that there’s nothing there but, say, a spoiled teenager with designer taste in condescension. That dirty, lost little boy traipsing through the debris? I’m sad to report it’s Gosling.

  • With the eerie, dreamlike noir of David Lynch, poetic visuals of lower class decay a la Harmony Korine's "Gummo," and the cartoonish violence found in Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive," Ryan Gosling's directorial debut "Lost River" is certainly an accomplished collage of familiar ingredients. That's both to the credit of the movie's stylish production values... and the reason why it never really works. Rather than making his own movie, Gosling has composed a messy love letter to countless others.

  • Gosling has assembled a strong cast, and by enlisting the services of DoP Benoît Debie (Spring Breakers, Enter the Void) has at least ensured that every shot in the film is intoxicatingly resplendent. But that superficial dazzle only takes it so far. Ultimately, there's only so many times you can use the same tracking shot up a violet-lit corridor, or static shot of a blazing building, before the audience will begin to wonder whether any of this actually means anything.

  • The photography, by Gaspar Noé associate Benoît Debie, is magnificent (there's a shade of purple here that I've never seen anywhere before, in life or on screen). Overall, though, the film is an incoherent stew of stylistic borrowings and gruesome chic. In the afternoon show, the film was enthusiastically booed: Gosling, you could say, got roundly goosed.

  • ...As the movie played, I found myself wondering, "When does this get bad?" The least one can say for "Lost River" is that there's not a dull shot in it. Courtesy of cinematographer Benoit Debie, it's a vision of decay, neon, and hellfire that's like no other (well, except maybe Lynch's and Refn's). It's probably the most purely beautiful film I've seen at Cannes since "Drive" in 2011.

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