Director: Ryan Gosling
Writer: Ryan Gosling
Cast: Christina Hendricks, Iain De Caestecker, Saoirse Ronan, Matt Smith, Ben Mendelsohn, Eva Mendes, Reda Kateb, Barbara Steele
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 30.4.2015
[Reviews by Maynard and cornholio.]
Billy (Christina Hendricks) lives alone with her two kids in a mostly abandoned neighborhood. When he’s not busy dreaming about his neighbor Rat (Saoirse Ronan), Billy’s older son Bones (Iain De Caestecker) tries to support them by stealing copper from the empty houses around them, which draws the ire of local thug (Matt Smith) who claims all the copper for himself. Threatened by foreclosure, Billy accepts a job offer from Dave (Ben Mendelsohn), her bank manager who has a little business at the side at a strange night club.
Lost River is not a perfect film. But it is an enchanting, strong debut that I won’t mind watching again.
The German word for crazy is “verrückt”. It literally means displaced, moved a little to the side – and that’s exactly the vibe this film gives off. Everything is a little off-kilter, a little strange, a little out there. Is it fantastic? Is it just weird? You can’t really be sure. But it makes the film a little hazy and a little magical itself.
Gosling plays masterfully with that mysterious atmosphere, creating strong images that could come directly out of a dream and overlaid with a really wonderful soundtrack that supports and shapes the images. [This sounds like the soundtrack was a bra. I’d say it’s ok to think of it that way.] This is most obvious with the scenes in the club Billy starts to work at, but it’s true for the entire film.
Sometimes though the film gets away from Gosling. There are distinct lengths and I don’t know if I wouldn’t have liked a bit more substantial reality instead of ethereal atmosphere every once in a while, although the film is not without realism and its social criticismis pretty harsh, once uncovered. The characters feel a little flat at times. But since I really liked the characters, especially Billy, and since the cast was really excellent, that flatness can be forgiven.
It’s a film you have to be able to fall into. If you don’t, you’ll remain bewildered by most of it and bored by the rest. But if you can, it’s akin to floating through somebody else’s dream. And I for one really enjoy that.