07 May 2015

"LOST RIVER" (/SLASH 1/2 Mini-Festival, 2015)


Working Title:
How to Catch a Monster

USA, 2014
Director: Ryan Gosling


I like Ryan Gosling as an actor ("Drive", "The Ides of March") and I respect his recent foray into the writer/director-realm... but omg, I HATED his debut feature "Lost River". I hated it about as much as the critics in Cannes who tore it to shreds last year. It's obviously not the worst movie I've ever seen, but it's definitely the most unbearable one.

"Lost River" feels as if Gosling went crazy after binge-watching all the films of Nicolas Winding Refn, Gaspar Noe, David Cronenberg, David Lynch and Terrence Mallick. I imagine him sitting at home, shouting out "Hey! I wanna do that too!" over and over again, before he finally sat down and wrote an awkward, incomprehensible and pointless story about a semi-abandoned town called 'Lost River' where a few characters do some oh-so-symbolic and/or oh-so-pointless shit: a single mother who starts to work at some super-grotesque theatre club (which feels like a harmless variation of the club in "Hostel III"), her son who discovers a mysterious road that leads into an underwater dinosaur theme park (where's Spielberg when you need him?), an old woman (who looks a bit like Gloria Swnason in "Sunset Blvd.") who's watching TV all night long, and a naive young girl named Rat(!) who prefers to live (and sing) in a neon-pink-light attic. Oh, and there's also some guy who thinks he's king of the town and spends his days sitting in a car with a seat mounted on top, shouting and screaming through a louspeaker H.P.-Baxxter-style (Thanks Lilly!).

"Style Over Substance - The Movie" would be a better-fitting title. The whole thing is just one oh-so-beautiful, oh-so-meaningful image after the other. A neverending succession of trippy visuals and money shots without any depth or thoughtfulness. Weird characters doing weird things and saying weird things for no apparent reason. Nothing makes sense. Nothing fits together. Everything seems to have "Just Because" written all over it. At times it feels like this is the worst example of pretentious filmmaking imaginable, at times it feels as if Gosling simply had no idea what he's doing. As if he was running around all day long, filming this, filming that. I'm not sure what sucks more: Gosling's direction, Gosling's screenplay or Gosling's wacko imagination.

Things like the dinosaur head or the burning bicycle made me cringe. For every slow-mo shot of a burning house, I wanted to give Gosling a slap in the face. The scenes with the (slightly Cronenbergian) 'shells' or the educational film about the artifical lake - ridiculous, dumb and highly unnerving. Ugh. It was a torture. "Lost River" was definitely NOT made for me. 1 point for the gorgeous imagery. 1 point for the cast (minus Saoirse Ronan who was surprisingly disappointing). Rant over.

P.S. My buddy Manuel said that "It looks like a Hipster-Tumblr" which is probably the absolute best way to describe it :-D

P.P.S. No-one would care about "Lost River" if it would have been made by a no-name director with a no-name cast. No-one.


  1. Sounds like a "twisted Mess"... never heard of this one... thanks for the "warning"...
    A great day to you good Sir Maynard...

    1. I think I would have liked it if would have been a "twisted mess" ;)

    2. I can think of a few films that were a "twisted" mess , and still enjoyable ...not all "good films" but at least "enjoyable....

    3. A few of my favorite films of all time could be considered "twisted messes". This one's a twisted mess too, but it's so not enjoyable.

  2. 2/10 - Not completely crap then? :p

    It sounds as though he tried too hard to be artistic, and failed miserably. Shame. I actually really like the look of the cover and would have watched it on that 'strength' alone.

    Thank you for the warning.

    Have a perfect weekend :)

    1. You nailed it. Artistic in an annoyingly over-the-top, frustratingly artsy-fartsy way. A shame. The basic story elements were interesting and yeah, the cover looks amazing.

      Have a perfect weekend too! =)


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