Future cult classic? Ambitious failure? Maybe both? Ryan Gosling‘s directorial debut “Lost River” has seen no shortage of opinion around it, but perhaps none have been as bracing and direct as Terence Nance‘s breakdown of the movie at The Talkhouse. The director of “An Oversimplification Of Her Beauty” last delivered a hilarious and scathing takedown of Ridley Scott‘s “Exodus,” and while he’s critical of Gosling’s film, he ultimately notes it’s being held to an unfairly high standard.
Written as a pretend email sent to Gosling before Cannes last year, Nance offers a series of notes throughout the running time of the movie. A bulk of the pointed criticism comes from the film’s depiction of black characters, with Nance writing:
“…I have to explain to you why you gotta cut this whole motif [of characters talking to non-actor black people] out of the movie. I mean… ok. you are shooting a movie in detroit that is fictionalizing the REAL problems that poor Black people are having there. But the only Black characters are literally those same people (who are at least archetypally experiencing REAL problems) but marginalized to third tier supporting roles in which they are used as props to sell the emotional weight (or comic value) of the plight of the wealthy white actors that populate 99% of the screentime. you should cut all of these scenes with the non-actor Black key extras that are used to make the film feel “real.”
But that aside, Nance recognizes this is Gosling’s first film and gives him the benefit of that limited experience, and perhaps not incorrectly notes that had anyone else been behind the camera, the reviews might not have been so scathing:
Agree? Disagree? Let us know below. But first, here’s an interview with Ryan Gosling about the film.