DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

LOST RIVER (director/writer: Ryan Gosling; cinematographer: Benoit Debie; editors: Valdia Oskarsdottir/Nico Leunen; music: Johnny Jewel; cast: Christina Hendricks (Billy), Saoirse Ronan (Rat), Iain De Caestecker (Bones), Matt Smith (Bully), Reda Kateb (Cab Driver), Barbara Steele (Grandma), Eva Mendes (Cat), Ben Mendelsohn (Dave), Landyn Stewart (Franky); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Marc Platt, Ryan Gosling, Adam Siegel, Michel Litvak, David Lancaster; Warner Bros.; 2014)

"That Gosling is so serious about his inconsequential pronouncements, makes this mess more of a mess."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The directing debut of Ryan Gosling is plagued by poor direction and a poor script. It's a fantasy thriller with David Lynch aspirations. The adult fairy tale is nonsensical, indulgent and is painfully tedious. That Gosling is so serious about his inconsequential pronouncements, makes this mess more of a mess.

Lost River is a gutted American town that has seen its best days. Most sane residents have left, but one family that remains is the financially troubled single mom Billy (Christina Hendricks), her teenage son Bones (Iain De Caestecker ) and toddler Franky ( Landyn Stewart). Her devious banker (Ben Mendelsohn) offers her a gig at a suspicious nightclub that features realistic looking torture acts for hot ladies in revealing outfits. Meanwhile Bones steals copper and car parts from abandoned wrecked places. The kid is threatened with great physical harm by a psychopath called Bully (Matt Smith), who claims he owns the city.

The urban decay in Lost River symbolizes the downfall of the American Dream, and how consumerism cripples the population morally and economically. The pic loads up on surreal visuals, dreamlike fires and violence, and a sense of doom and gloom. It shoots for eye-catching visuals throughout while leaving its twisty story twisting in the wind. This thriller just doesn't make enough sense to capitalize on some surprisingly potent imagery. Gosling ventures into Lynchian territory but can't escape unscathed on his own.

REVIEWED ON 1/23/2016       GRADE: C

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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