Hollywood golden boy Ryan Gosling made his directorial debut this past spring with Lost River, but don’t expect to see it hitting the big screen anytime soon. With the film receiving less-than-stellar reviews at the Cannes Film Festival, executives at Warner Bros. have instead opted to quietly release the film via home entertainment platforms sometime next April.
Dubbed a “fantasy neo-noir,” Lost River follows a single mother (Christina Hendricks) and her troubled teenage son (Ian De Caestecker) as they struggle through economic difficulties before somehow discovering a secret, underwater utopia. Even with plenty of hype and writing/co-production credits from Gosling himself, the film’s only manged to secure a Metacritic score of 35%. In his review, Variety staff writer Justin Chang offered the following criticisms:
Lost is indeed the operative word for this violent fairy tale about a fractured family trying to survive among the ruins of a city overrun by thugs, sexual predators and other demons, nearly all of them cribbed from the surreal cinematic imaginations of other, vastly more intuitive filmmakers. It’s perversely admirable to the extent that Gosling has certainly put himself out there, sans shame or apology, but train-wreck fascination will go only so far to turn this misguided passion project into an item of even remote commercial interest.
As IndieWire notes, the studio’s decision not to give Lost River a theatrical release should come as no surprise: Following the abysmal debut at Cannes, Warner Bros. quickly sought to sell the film to an indie distributor.
Below, watch a trailer for Lost River.
Here’s my humble take on the whole thing: Ryan — can I call you Ryan? — if you want to take a little break from the director’s seat, or the movie business in general, I would gladly welcome a new Dead Man’s Bones album.