Any fans of Ryan Gosling here? What about Drive, Only God Forgives and The Place Beyond The Pines? Thought so, me too. If you are a big fan then you may of known he's took an absence of leave from acting last year to direct and write his debut film that was then called How To Catch A Monster but was later changed to [The Lost City](movie:1149217). If you're even a bigger fan then you know the first teaser for it went online a few days ago and might of left you thinking what the f*ck did i just watch? Thats ok because it premiered this week at Cannes and some short reviews may help make us understand what we're in for. Cannes can be hard on its contenders, how did he fare?
Depending on who you ask of course, most critics seemed pretty quick to slam his first attempt as it 'borrowed' too much from influences that he worked and admired. The biggest being that of David Lynch. Now that isn't a bad thing but how much influence is too much? Lets look at some remarks:
"Give some credit to Gosling, the Method-hunk star of such indie faves as Half Nelson, Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond The Pines, plus Hollywoodier fare like The Notebook, The Ides of March and Crazy, Stupid, Love, for his mad mash up of horror and social statement, crackpot fantasy and Sundance-style meandering," TIME magazine's Richard Corliss wrote. "That means it wavers between the stupefying and the obscure, between LOL and WTF."
Theres more where that came from...
"Had Terrence Malick and David Lynch somehow conceived an artistic love-child together, only to see it get kidnapped, strangled and repeatedly kicked in the face by Nicolas Winding Refn, the results might look and sound something like Lost River, a risible slab of Detroit gothic that marks an altogether inauspicious writing-directing debut for Ryan Gosling," VARIETY's Justin Chang wrote.
THE TELEGRAPHS Robbie Collin agrees...
"The problem is, its like Ryan Goslings seen: David Lynch, Mario Bava, Nicolas Winding Refn, Terrence Malick, Gaspar Noe and a splash of David Cronenberg for good measure," he wrote. "But these filmmakers ideas and imagery aren't developed, they're simply reproduced: think Wikipedia essay rather than love letter. The result is cinema you don't watch so much as absent-mindedly scroll through, wondering when an idea or an image worth clicking on will finally show up." Ouch!
One even goes deeper by saying if it weren't for Ryan's star power, it would of never even of made it in Cannes to begin with by saying its his first film and it shows. Well duh, i don't think we were expecting a classic so soon from him.
All feelings aren't hate though thankfully with Jordan Hoffman of FILM.COM saying;
"Ryan Gosling wanted to make an art film and despite some dull patches, pretty much succeeded. Theres more to him than just 'lookin' at his muscles."
Well thats a tad bit better i suppose.
A few tweets also showed support by recognizing his style to Mr. Lynch's as well and liked it. If Lynch himself ever sees it i wonder how he'd feel about the supposed comparisons.
I for one really became a fan after Half Nelson and Drive and appreciate his style and taste of recent roles and direction he's going in. Im ok with the art style if thats what he is going for (coming off of working with Refn, i wouldn't expect less), the imagery from the teaser looked really well shot and clean for a debut to be honest. Im not expecting greatness here but i am expecting some stellar scenes set to some fitting mood music and a odd but subtle vibe going on. Im ok if i catch myself saying 'WTF' as well as long as I'm not saying it on my way out towards the money i just spent on the ticket. Until then I'm still optimistic and pulling for Mr. Gosling...