I don't think I've ever walked out of a movie to dead silence. However, I can now say that's changed. 'Lost River' was a humungously sidetracked, confusing, and neurotic film about nothing. I got exactly nothing out of it. Other than Ryan Gosling needs to stick to acting...
Iain De Caestecker, who played Bones, did an excellent job! Being the lead of this film must have been really, really hard. The film begins with Bones stripping houses in Detroit for copper in order to get some cash. His mother played by Christina Hendricks, is three months behind on the mortgage. She wants to keep the house so Bones and his little brother have a place to live. I was fine with this plot, until it spiraled out.
Bones finds out about the mortgage and goes to steal back his copper from Bully (played by Matt Smith). Like Gosling couldn't come up with a better name?!? Bully thinks he owns the copper business in town and steals from everyone. He has exactly one sidekick, so I really didn't understand why he was so scary to everyone. Any who, Bones steals in order to get more money to pay the mortgage. Bully lives in the old zoo, which I have to say looked really cool. However, cool doesn't make a movie. Bully's sidekick chases after Bones, but fails to catch him. So in retaliation, Bully cuts off his sidekicks lips with a scissor. Like this would even be possible! When Bones escapes he stumbles upon an area with street lights which obviously used to be on either side of a road. This 'road' goes into the river. To be honest, this scene was very cool and 'Jurassic Park'-esk. Yet, cool still doesn't make a movie.
Bones only friend is Rat (played by Saoirse Ronan) who lives across the street from him. Rat thinks he's crazy for crossing Bully. Bones tells Rat of the road and she informs him of the story of how there was a town that was flooded when the river was dammed years ago. This caused a curse on the town Lost River that they live in. Bones doesn't believe her, I wouldn't either to be honest. However, Rat's Grandmother used to live there and since her husband died during construction she hasn't spoken since. Rat says in order to break the curse someone has to bring a part of the town to the surface. Very fairytale-esk.
Billy (Hendricks) gets a job from the bank manager since she is now desperate to keep her home. His job proposition is very sexual, he's odd and is clearly not well intentioned. But in her desperation she agrees. The door is in the shape of a clown mouth so you already know this is going to be weird. She enters anyway, of course. Billy walks into Eva Mendes' character being murdered on stage. Everyone in the audience is clapping and cheering except for Billy who is horrified (as she should be).
That's what the job is, performing in an eccentric club that is setup by the bank manager. Almost voyeuristic in intention, which really bothered me as the club was supposed to be an escape for the people of Lost River. Who in their right mind would see this as an escape?!? Billy's act is to sit in front of a sudo-mirror and cut her face with a scalpel. I get the intention here, it's a statement on beauty, but I don't think most people in their right minds would watch this. I had to close my eyes during this it was so disgusting.
Bully is hunting Bones at this point since he escaped. Bones and Rat go 'out on the town' which takes them to the gas station shop. Bully pulls up outside and his sidekick, now named Face since he no longer has a whole one, goes inside the store. Bones hides and Rat has to pretend she's alone. Once she goes outside Bully starts needling her with questions and in order to stop him from going into the store she agrees to hitch a ride with him. When they arrive at her home Bully slices off her rats head. Disgusting....however it's a dig at Bones.
In order for Billy to make even more money she can go into a pod. I didn't understand the point of this at all! Mendez's character says it's so the client can get out their frustrations without anyone getting hurt. Are the clients suppose to beat up the pod? Weird, weird, weird, it doesn't make any sense. So of course, she does it. Anyone in their right mind would have walked out by now.
Bones finds out about the rat beheading and his mother working at the club so he decides to break the curse. In the middle of the night he paddles out unto the river and dives for a piece of the town. He brings up a dinosaur head from the pre-historic park. Within seconds the street lights come on. At this point I was interested, prior, I was disgusted. While Bones was busy dinosaur diving, Face burns down Rat's house with her Grandmother inside. Bully is at the river waiting for Bones. Bully lights Bones' car on fire and then drives straight at him. I have no idea how Bones survives. Bones chucks the dinosaur head at Bully's oncoming car which causes him to crash and Bully to die.
The bank manager goes into the pod room and starts dancing (weird). I did mention weird right? You can tell he's about to rape her. Luckily, she has a knife and stabs him in the ear (he's deaf on one side). She runs for it and returns home to find Rat's house burning. Bones, his brother, and Rat are all sitting watching the house go up in flames. They do the one intelligent thing in the movie, which is leave. The credits roll. No one in the theater moved so I stayed as well. Good thing I did cause there was a post credits scene. The street lights go dark. So basically everything goes back to what it was at the beginning. Nothing has changed for Lost River. I found this completely pointless since the one good thing was that the curse was broken and Bones and company could leave!
The only good thing about this movie was it had a really fantastic cast, the photography was beautiful, and the soundtrack set a wonderful tone. That is the only reason this film is getting a 2 from me. However, all that does not make up for a crap story. I felt like Gosling didn't know exactly what he wanted. Part dark fairytale, part social commentary, part voyeurism, it didn't fit together. Being that Gosling's special thanks when to Guillermo Del Toro and had the feel of 'Drive' (since there wasn't a lot of dialogue) I can guess that a crossover was his intention. None the less, it was a failure mashup. Gosling, stick to acting....