Ryan Gosling Directorial Debut, lost in a river of metaphors

RyanGoslingHollywood actor Ryan Gosling burned up the screen at the Cannes film festival with his directorial debut on Tuesday, but critics’ reaction was reminiscent of the filling of a barf bag.

Gosling’s “Lost River”, premiered at Cannes on Tuesday night, includes images of blazing buildings that should have included the film negatives.

But early comments posted on Twitter following an advance press screening were overwhelmingly caustic. Tim Robey of Britain’s Daily Telegraph called the film – set in a near-deserted community pockmarked by scorched houses – a “crapocalypse.”

ryan-goslings-directorial-debut-lost-river-2014-cannes-film-festivalGosling’s movie, which he also wrote, is one of 19 to compete in the “Un Certain Regard” category for emerging directors at the prestigious festival on the French Riviera.

The Hollywood heartthrob has been a frequent visitor to Cannes as an actor, most recently accompanying two Nicolas Winding Refn films – the bloody slasher set in Bangkok, “Only God Forgives”, and pulp thriller “Drive”.

The influence of Winding Refn – who this year is a jury member in the festival’s main competition – was palpable, said critics.

A young man named Bones (Iain De Caestecker), along with his mother (Christina Hendricks) and little brother, are a lonely family left in a dept war community, crumbling to hard times.

When their home is scheduled for the wrecking ball, Bones strips abandoned houses for copper wiring to sell. I guess this is the equivalent to selling newspapers in the 1900’s.  As mothers need to feed their young Bones mother starts working at an underground fetish club. Sounds plausible right? Now at this fetish club the evenings entertainment is a cabaret show featuring women being slashed and stabbed. No Liza Here.

Gosling appears to be interested in themes with the decline of the home or a families ability to pay for it, but the movie is really about shocking the audience with surreal and sinister elements. (See David Lynch handbook on film making.), But Gosling missed the psychological punch line.

What is with the mute grandmother, that watches old home movies in the dark wearing a black veil?

Symbolism can be powerful like a rash cream when applied effectively. We move onward to the discovery of a town submerged underwater. Where did it come from, and who built it?

No horror film, and this one was certainly a horror to watch would be complete without a violent sexual encounter and in Lost River it is between the mother and her new boss.

The films real irritant is reminiscent of Dakoto Fanning in War Of The Worlds a character named Bully (Matt Smith) who rides around bragging through a loudspeaker that “I own this city”. Didn’t Starship also do that number? In this case those who do not respond to Billy in the appropriate respect receive the lip treatment. Yes I mean having their lips cut off with scissors.

Que the Spewing blood, a severed rat head, and bikes, and buildings burning in slow motion to the films special effects. It is intended to give a nightmarish feel as the music builds to an anti-climax.

“The ultimate student film, made by industry pros,” wrote Twitch Film in a tweet.

The films title is true to it’s name. The filmmaker was lost in a river of metaphors. The film attempts to create magic using the tricks of Ryan’s mentors (David Lynch) among others and like a cheep intimation it fails miserable.

When filmmakers try for edgy, and on a rare occasion achieve it the film can be spectacular. In this amateur first attempt Gosling achieved only viewers on the edge of their seat contemplating leaving the cinema.

Perhaps we will just have to admire the actor from afar.


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