Lost River (2014)

(On Cable TV, March 2016) I was willing to give Ryan Gosling plenty of chances for his debut feature film, but as it turns out there are limits to the amount of Lynchian surrealism that I can take, and he easily exceeded them during the course of Lost River. I do think that there’s something interesting in the film’s blend of quasi-magical realism, its transposition of a fantasy quest in a contemporary setting and the way some of the imagery resonates. It’s hard to watch the film and remain unmoved by the decay that it exhibits, or not wonder a bit about street lamps leading down to a lake. But strange imagery is best when it supports a solid story, and Lost River seems to lose itself in digressions, daydreaming and mean-spirited violence. I mean: If you ever want to see Christina Hendricks graphically cut off the flesh off her face, then this is the film for you. As for me: Ew. Taking place on a metaphorical level but not feeling like anything more substantial than a nightmare, Lost River ends up being moderately obnoxious even when it seems to be leading up to something. I gather that fans of cinematic surrealism will like this one better than I did.

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