Director: Ryan Gosling
Stars: Christina Hendricks, Iain De Cestecker
2 (out of 5) Globes
At his best, Ryan Gosling, actor, is coiled, reined-in and precise — a Method man, but in the more introspective, cooler Montgomery Clift vein than the splutteringly emotive Marlon Brando. Turns out Ryan Gosling, filmmaker, is quite different. If it was an actor it would be the ham who tries anything and everything, attempting to shock you into submission without realizing the work is by turns sloppy, desperate and derivative. Who knew, underneath the cool, placid exterior of the guy from “Drive” and “Crazy, Sexy, Love” (much less “The Mickey Mouse Club”), lurked the kind of mind that would dream up a villain (Matt Smith) with a thing for cutting off people’s lips, or a scene where Christina Hendricks surgically removes her own face?
Gotcha moments like those are “Lost River”’s bread and butter, punctuating a dreamy non-narrative that’s more a place of mind than a tale. Hendricks’ waitress-stripper is one of the few people who haven’t vacated a never-identified urban wasteland (shot in Detroit). Hard up for cash, she agrees to the ghoulish advances of a slimy banker (Ben Mendelsohn), who tells her, the film’s goofy parlance, “Everybody’s got to do the shimmy shimmy ya.” What he means to say is she must acquire work at a local den of mega-sin, where the crowds come to watch Eva Mendes feign bloody death. Meanwhile, Billy’s son (Iain De Cestecker) kills time by prowling abandoned buildings for copper and evading Smith’s baddie, who rides about in his own pimpmobile and later talks to a mousy girl named Rat (Saoirse Ronan) about touching her rat.