Lost River 2015

lost-river

Ryan Gosling’s much derided debut feature is a surprisingly vivid Detroit melodrama with magic realist leanings.  Despite colourless male leads, Christina Hendrix proves the most empathetic through-line as a young mother whose creepy bank manager (Ben Mendelsohn) inveigles her into a dark world of underground clubs, where Eva Mendes and her crew present stylised acts of mutilation art to a paying crowd.  Casting Barbara Steele instead of the intended target Karen Black in a maternal role pushes the genre a little further towards horror than required, and Matt Smith’s villain is pallid, but there’s something oddly compelling about Gosling’s thriller, from the opening image of a flaming, rider-less bicycle onwards.

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