It’s a dark film about mother and son escaping their wasteland home and venturing into mystery (the underworld and an underwater town, specifically). It has a curious mix of stars such as Ryan Gosling, Saoirse Ronan, Christina Hendricks, Eva Mendes and Matt Smith attached to it. The characters are called names like Rat and Bully. Lost River (previously titled How to Catch a Monster – much cooler, in my opinion) sounds awesomely strange on paper. But Gosling’s directorial debut is getting quite a strong reaction, and not all so great.
We were given some indication that this film would be a bit more outlandish than, say, Tim Burton’s brand of bizarre, when the first clip of the film was released mid-May. There were no mysterious underworlds to be seen, just the Detroit backdrop, lots of fire, a very distressed Iain De Caestecker (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D), and Matt Smith yelling about his muscles. Intriguing? Sure. Confusing? Definitely.
Then came the Cannes Film Festival, where Lost River premiered. Critics were decidedly polarized. Time called it “nuts at its core.” Variety said it appealed to “train wreck fascination.” Loud boos from the audience were reported by many, but there were notably some cheers in there, too. Film found Lost River to be a success, and Digital Spy called it striking. Overall, the film was praised for its cinematography, but questioned for its plot. Regardless of how critics felt, it quickly became one of Cannes’ most talked about films.
The film has not yet received an official U.S. release date, and according to Deadline , Warner Bros. is looking to sell distribution rights to an independent studio after its controversial debut.
When the film does hit theaters — it will be released in Italy, Denmark and Netherlands this fall — it is probably safe to say that fans of the director and cast will watch no matter what critics declare (I mean, it is an unspoken rule that if Matt Smith is in it, I watch it). Besides, the extreme reactions only add to the anticipation of the movie’s awesomely strange allure. Bring on the crazy.