Lost River tells the story of a single mother that’s swept into a dark underworld while her teenage son discovers a road that leads him to a secret underwater town.
To be quite honest, this film didn’t deserve the backlash that it received and the critics at Cannes don’t have any justification to give the harsh criticisms that they did. The film was a strangely weird and a grotesque, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that it deserved such reviews.
I saw this film as apart of a Q&A with writer/director Ryan Gosling and actor (and antagonist of the film) Matt Smith. It was definitely an entertaining tell that left you trying to figure certain parts out. Explanations from Gosling and Smith helped illustrate what went on behind the camera to show such a disturbing replication of American society. I say this as it shows how driven to violence we are and how some gain a strange pleasure out of it. It also shows how unseen parts of our countries are deteriorating and we know little to nothing about it with characters like Bully (played amazingly by Matt Smith) who terrorise a town that no one wants to live in.
It is a very well made directorial debut by Gosling, and has definitely learned much from the last ten or more years we’ve seen him on screen. It’s clear that he’s been inspired by Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn and if he does continue to step behind the camera, he’ll only get better with the films he makes. He definitely has a future ahead of him as a writer and director, with a unique voice in there somewhere underneath his homages.
It is a very visual film, even if the story and what was shown was a little left of field and strange. It’s not something that would appeal to everyone’s taste and there are definitely scenes that would be a little too graphic for those with strong stomachs.
Overall, I did enjoy the film. I probably won’t be seeing it again at least for a while as it has definitely etched itself into my memory for years to come.