Ryan Gosling’s first foray into directing, “Lost River,” may not land on critics’ lists of awards contenders coming out of Cannes, where the film premiered, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its merits or a potential audience in waiting. Described as a hallucinogenic blend of Gosling’s influences and recent collaborators, the film has already amassed a set of defenders on its journey to a general release, and it only makes sense that one of them is none other than Nicolas Winding Refn.
Approached during the Cannes closing night dinner, capping off the festival where he served on the jury, Refn told Vulture (via Digital Spy) that he’d seen Gosling’s film and he found it “a beautiful, beautiful, great movie that will grow on people. There are images from it that still stick with me” — one aspect where our review from Cannes agreed with the “Drive” director.
Refn specifically singled out the film’s mother/son relationship of Christina Hendricks and Iain De Caestecker as exemplary, as well as the creepy performance by Gosling’s “Place Beyond The Pines” co-star Ben Mendelsohn as the dancing, singing owner of a strange club. “I could watch him read the phone book,” said Refn.
As for the charges leveled against Gosling of picking and using choice elements from different directors, and specifically Refn for his liberal use of red and ultra-violent bursts, Refn himself sees the matter as obvious. “Because we’re twins, we make the same movie,” he said. “Separated at birth, we found each other. That’s the thing about twins. We stick together.”
While “Lost River” has Refn’s seal of approval, it remains to be seen exactly which distributor will step up with a vote of confidence for release, now that Warner Bros. is re-considering. Until then, check out our feature on exactly what to expect with Gosling’s flawed, fascinating first directorial effort.