The official synopsis of "Lost River" sounds pretty bonkers, and is full of tantalizingly overwrought phrases like "the surreal dreamscape of a vanishing city" (read: Detroit) and "a macabre and dark fantasy underworld." There's even an underwater world thrown in for good measure. Plus, if you really want to nerd out about it, the director of photography is Benoît Debie, whose dizzying work can be seen in Gaspar Noé unforgettable movies "Irreversible" and "Enter the Void," and Harmony Korine's "Spring Breakers." We're already reaching for the Benadryl.
It shouldn't be a surprise that reviews of "Lost River" are comparing it to mash-ups of Gosling's guru Nicolas Winding Refn, David Lynch, Noé, Korine, and every other freaky-deaky director who has as many devotees as detractors. All we can go by is the trailer, which is a steaming pile of WTF-ery that's left our ears ringing with Matt Smith exhorting us to look at his muscles.
Despite the references to ultra violence, general weirdness, and, oh, sexual violence in the film, Warner Bros. has picked it up for US distribution. It seems strange that a first-time filmmaker whose debut sounds like a very hard R, at the least, is getting a release from a large studio like WB; there's no artsier imprint within Warner Bros. like Fox has with Fox Searchlight or Sony has with Sony Pictures Classics. Sure, Gosling is a bankable name, but the fans that eat up every puppy-snuggling pic of him aren't exactly going to line up for a psychedelic freak-out.
Twitter reactions and festival reviews aren't the best gauge of a movie's success or lack thereof, but the reactions don't actually sound like your typical jet-laggy rants and raves. And now that it's been dubbed, among other things, "a film-maudit crapocalypse," well, there's not much more left to say until we see it for ourselves.
"Lost River," which stars Christina Hendricks, Iain De Caestecker, Matt Smith, Ben Mendelsohn, Saoirse Ronan, and a smidgen of Eva Mendes, doesn't have a US release date. Yet.
Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images