It’s been almost a year since Ryan Gosling premiered his directorial debut at Cannes, to long lines, loud boos, and more than a few vicious pans. Warner Bros. briefly toyed with not releasing the movie at all, then reconsidered; it’s currently scheduled to open in a few U.S. markets, and to stream through digital platforms, on April 10.
This is good news, and not just for those looking to hate-watch some maligned curiosity by a movie star who’s decided he wants to play director, too. Lost River, which originally went by the title How To Catch A Monster, is the kind of derivative but striking debut with which many young artists kick off their careers. It owes a clear debt to a whole slew of influences—Terrence Malick, Harmony Korine, David Lynch, Dario Argento, David Gordon Green, Nicolas Winding Refn—but it also suggests that Gosling has the eye and the moxie of a natural-born filmmaker. Audiences should have the opportunity to experience the daft thing for themselves. (Plus, let’s not forget that the actor-turned-filmmaker passed on a much safer project, a remake of The Idolmaker, to make this gonzo curiosity instead. Such risk-taking should be rewarded, at least with a limited release.)
Hints of Lost River’s borrowed aesthetic pleasures and loose plot—a kind of ramshackle we-gotta-get-out-of-this-place narrative, with Detroit recast as a watery ghost town—are all over the official trailer above. The spot also prominently advertises Gosling’s game cast, an ensemble that does not feature the blue-eyed hunk himself, but does include his Drive costar Christina Hendricks, Ben Mendelsohn, Eva Mendes, Saoirse Ronan, the awkward British kid from Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Dr. Who’s Matt Smith, in a villainous turn. Not teased by the teaser: Smith riding around Detroit on an armchair throne, commanding that everyone look at his muscles, sounding like James Franco in Spring Breakers. They had to save something for the movie proper.