Ryan Gosling dealt with a crowd of meanie-pants when he brought his directorial debut to Cannes last year. Lost River was heckled and booed at the film festival, but our own A.A. Dowd gave it a less savage C+, and suggested objections had as much to do with the famous heartthrob behind the camera as it did with the finished product. After all, Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides was an official Cannes selection in 2011, so maybe some of that critical self-righteousness was misplaced. Regardless, the consensus was so negative that Warner Bros. temporarily pulled the film from theatrical distribution.
Since then, the teeth-gnashing over Gosling’s career aspirations has ceased, and Lost River is coming to a handful of select theaters along with its VOD release on April 10. The latest promotion is a “featurette,” which looks an awful lot like a regular trailer. As regular as a trailer can get when it features Christina Hendricks peeling the skin off of her face and lingering shots of houses engulfed in flames, anyway.
Maybe it’s an incomprehensible mess. Maybe it’s a derivative hodgepodge of well-known directorial styles and idiosyncrasies. Maybe it’s the single most important cinematic work of the 21st century. (Probably not that last one, but still.) Good or bad, Gosling at least has an eye for framing interesting visuals, and the film boasts a solid cast, including Ben Mendelsohn, Eva Mendes, Matt Smith, and Saoirse Ronan.