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In front of the camera, Ryan Gosling been mostly MIA lately, save for last year’s bizarre yet disappointing Only God Forgives. The reason: Baby Goose, as some Internet types like to call him, has been diligently powering through his directorial debut, Lost River (originally titled How to Catch a Monster). Other than its direct David Lynch (of whom Gosling’s a big fan) and Nicolas Winding Refn (Gosling’s Drive and Only God Forgives director, and close friend) influences, little has been known about Lost River, but now that the film has officially premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, the reactions are pouring in all over Twitter, and they’re…well, all over the place.
Unsurprisingly so, mind you. In addition to those aforementioned, surrealistically-minded influences, Lost River’s plot (carried out by a strong cast including Christina Hendricks, Eva Mendes, Saoirse Ronan, and former Doctor Who star Matt Smith) has been promising cinematic weirdness since it first appeared online. Here’s the official synopsis, via the Cannes website: Lost River weaves elements of fantasy noir and suspense into a modern day fairytale. Set against the surreal dreamscape of a vanishing city, Billy, a single mother of two, is swept into a macabre and dark fantasy underworld while her teenage son discovers a secret road leading to an underwater town. Both Billy and Bones must dive deep into the mystery if their family is to survive.
Expect a surplus of deep-diving reviews and reactions to flow out of Cannes this week; for now, though, Criticwire’s tireless editor Sam Adams, like he’s done for many of Cannes’ other notable premieres, has compiled critics’ immediate Twitter reactions to Lost River—most of which, sadly for Gosling, aren’t too flattering. Here are some the best ones:
Lost River: Ryan Gosling's directorial debut is a grimy urban fable equally indebted to Refn, Lynch and Hot Topic. #Cannes— William Goss (@williambgoss) May 20, 2014
Cannes so far lacks a film-maudit crapocalypse. LOST RIVER just supplied it. All Gosling's pet Lynch films, filtered through Refnvision.— Tim Robey (@trim_obey) May 20, 2014
If a $200 haircut and $900 shades were given lots of money to defecate on Detroit, the result would be Ryan Gosling's directing debut.— Wesley Morris (@Wesley_Morris) May 20, 2014
Lost River: Ryan Gosling confuses 'making film' with 'assembling Tumblr of David Lynch & Mario Bava gifs'. Dumb-foundingly poor #Cannes2014— Robbie Collin (@robbiereviews) May 20, 2014
Ryan Gosling's directing debut: let's see God forgive this...— Jonathan Romney (@JonathanRomney) May 20, 2014
Ryan Gosling's directorial debut LOST RIVER is like the residue of a collision between GUMMO & TWIN PEAKS. No, really. #cannes— erickohn (@erickohn) May 20, 2014
So the Ryan Gosling is utter guff. Backwater sub-Lynch cliche after cliche. N Winding Refn would be proud— Dave Calhoun (@davecalhoun) May 20, 2014
LOST RIVER (R-Goz) It's the TIDELANDS homage we've all been waiting for! Turgid trashpile grotesquery.— David Jenkins (@daveyjenkins) May 20, 2014
Lost River a cacophony of meaningless motifs stumbling round in service of a plot best summed up by "woman decides to move house"— Jessica Kiang (@jessicakiang) May 20, 2014
Lost River - Fairy tail-esque mind fuck unlike anything else. Another death of the American dream metaphor, like an unshakable nightmare.— Alex Billington (@firstshowing) May 20, 2014