LOST RIVER (Ryan Gosling). 95 minutes. Opens Friday (April 24). Rating: NN
Where to watch: iTunes
If nothing else, Lost River is a glimpse into writer/director Ryan Gosling‘s love of lurid giallo movies, the second half of Blue Velvet and that thing Terrence Malick does where he chases his actors through fields.
Gosling is a weird, goofy kind of guy, prone to eccentric performances and charmingly bizarre side projects like his band Dead Man’s Bones, which is sort of what Tom Waits would sound like if he were a children’s entertainer.
Lost River slots right in. The gentle, surrealistic story of Billy (Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks) and her grown son Bones (Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Iain De Caestecker) trying to keep their crumbling Detroit house from the jaws of the bank, it’s a jangled collage of vivid imagery and simplistic moral decisions.
Bones scrounges copper pipes from abandoned houses, treading on the turf of the violent Bully (Matt Smith, a long way from Doctor Who). Meanwhile, Billy’s new bank manager (Ben Mendelsohn, oozing depravity) offers her a job as a server – of sorts – at his Grand Guignol sex club.
It all descends into blood and fire as Gosling sifts through his Blu-ray collection to share the images and moods he loves. Does it work as a movie? Nah, not really. But as cinematic mix tapes go, it’s kind of cool.