“Lost River” ✮✮✮✮✮
This past week I was fortunate enough to attend the prestigious Cannes Film Festival where I watched some of the most amazing films ever made, as well as some of the worst behavior by critics. I thought the jocks at my high school were cruel, but at least I’ve never seen them boo the incredible works of two of America’s greatest talents, Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling.
I could spend all day writing about how Ryan Reynolds dramatic turn playing the father of a missing child in “Captive” is probably the best raw acting on screen since Pacino in “Serpico,” but I am devoting this review to the emergence of the next great voice in cinema, Ryan Gosling.Ryan Gosling’s “Lost River” is a masterpiece, plain and simple! It’s an ambitious urban fairy tale that fearlessly takes on the social issue of poverty in a way no filmmaker has attempted since John Ford’s 1940 classic, “The Grapes of Wrath.”
It tells the story of a single mother played by “Mad Men” actress Christina Hendricks, in a performance that makes Jessica Chastain look like an amateur, who is trying to raise her two sons in an abandoned neighborhood and is forced to go work in an underground fetish nightclub. In the hands of a lesser auteur, the surreal images of “Lost River” could have felt pretentious, but fortunately Gosling is more than skillful enough to never let his film go off the rails.
Gosling also wrote the screenplay for “Lost River,” which is remarkable because the script balances so many fully-developed characters, a task that even the most veteran Hollywood scribes would have had trouble pulling off. Movies aren’t supposed to be this good! If “Lost River” does not win this year’s Palme d’Or, then they might as well get rid of the award.
After seeing the film, I did some research on Wikipedia and I was absolutely shocked that Gosling did not go to film school. To be this great of an auteur without any formal training is downright unfathomable.
I’m ending this review with a message to all of my peers who showed an utter lack of respect for not only Gosling but also to cinema itself when they booed “Lost River.” My father, the legendary film critic David Manning Sr. once said, “There are no bad movies, just bad film critics who didn’t understand what the filmmaker was trying to say.”