Lost River (2015)

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Critic Consensus: Lost River suggests that debuting writer-director Ryan Gosling may have a bright future as a filmmaker, but it doesn't hold together well enough to recommend on its own merit.

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Ryan Gosling tries his hand at writing and directing with this fantasy thriller starring Christina Hendricks as a mother struggling to protect her kids in a dreamlike city. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Lost River

All Critics (70) | Top Critics (15)

Everything ... is painfully obvious or patently nonsensical.

May 14, 2015 | Full Review…

Indulgent and movie-like, Lost River is Gosling's weird, let's-do-this-thing folly. If it is a statement, it is one made by borrowing the vivid styles of the actual filmmakers he seems to admire ...

Apr 24, 2015 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

Designed to daze and confuse, and succeeding, Ryan Gosling's directorial debut is a stunner in visual terms alone.

Apr 23, 2015 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Ryan Gosling is a tremendously talented actor, but he should really leave the storytelling to someone else.

Apr 13, 2015 | Rating: C- | Full Review…

"Lost River" is one of those weird films that I think some people will absolutely adore, grabbing on to its performances, imagery, and ideas, without really caring that they haven't been stitched together in an interesting enough way.

Apr 10, 2015 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

"Lost River" is indeed a mess, but it's the best mess possible, an evocative grab-bag of images and moods with a heartfelt sincerity and conflicting impulses of romantic melancholy and hardscrabble hopefulness.

Apr 9, 2015 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Lost River

A shot and a miss as Ryan Gosling attempts to create a cult classic. The problem is the villains never seem villainous enough so when the final confrontation happens, it all seems anti climatic. Some high points here and there, but mostly you wait for something to happen.

Anthony Valletta
Anthony Valletta

Super Reviewer

Gosling creates an ominous atmosphere with a hypnotizing cinematography and a great score, but this incredibly pretentious and self-indulgent salad of influences - Lynch, Bava, Argento, Refn and so on - has a terrible sense of lack of purpose, with apparently nothing to say.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

In "Lost River," Billie(Christina Hendricks) is told by Dave(Ben Mendelsohn), her bank manager, that she is in danger of losing her home, like so many around her. While there seems little chance for her to be able to come up with all the money she owes on her own, Dave does know of a place that is hiring. Meanwhile, Billie's teenage son, Bones(Iain De Caestecker), earns money by stripping wiring from abandoned properties all around town, earning the ire of Bully(Matt Smith). As a director with his first feature "Lost River," Ryan Gosling shows a remarkable eye for memorable imagery, creating a post-apocalyptic fantasia out of the urban ruins of Detroit. Sadly, his writing is not on the same high level, with random story elements floating around in purely Lynchian fashion. That's with performances to match, with Saoirse Ronan and Ben Mendelsohn(who also sings and dances) faring best.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

½

In his feature directorial debut Ryan Gosling shows us first and foremost just how stylish he can be. Very much concerned with the framing and cinematography of his piece, Lost River relies on both of these camera elements accompanied by the Johnny Jewel soundtrack to set the very specific tone that Gosling wants to elicit. Specific is the key word here because without this preference to create a distinct style that evokes a certain time period (or more specifically the photography of that time period) then Gosling's directorial debut would be almost void of anything else. And yet, the way in which everything has been composed and the way the subtle and sly story is brought to the surface is strangely fascinating. Not necessarily good, but certainly fascinating. We never really feel (or at least I didn't) that there is a solid grasp on anything that is happening. It is understood that there seems to be a super natural element to all that is going on, but compared to something like American Horror Story which tends to finely balance its style with its content while fully embracing its genre, Lost River is unable to give us a compelling story while delivering some rather interesting visual choices. Even in the climax of the film where our assumed protagonist fights to end a curse that has been put on his town and Ben Mendelsohn dances his little heart out the cinematography delves into dark shades so that we can hardly tell what is going on. It's as if Gosling has something very specific (there's that word again) that he wants to say, but is afraid to state it too explicitly. What is it exactly that Gosling's film is trying to accomplish? I don't know that I could tell you. It's too easy to say that it's all style and no substance because while the style of the piece is front and center there is clearly something attempting to be said here; a statement trying to be made-I'm just not completely clear on what that is. read the whole review at www.reviewsfromabed.net

Philip Price
Philip Price

Super Reviewer

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