This review was originally written in July of 2015
On the surface Lost River is a devastating portrait of urban decay after the housing collapse, delving into the virtually empty remnants of what were once thriving Detroit neighborhoods…but it ends up being so much more than that.
Ryan Gosling proves himself to be perhaps more talented as a writer and director than as an actor, which is an impressive feat considering just how good he really is as an actor.
As grim and heartbreaking as the story is, there is a sense of stubborn hope and refusal to give up threaded throughout the narrative. In the desolate and unsettling environment and conditions in which the movie takes place we find Gosling displaying intense imagination and creativity as he weaves a story that is as much dark fantasy as it is drama.
Matt Smith (yes, that Matt Smith, The Doctor) portraying a deeply unstable and psychotic antagonist taking control of the neighborhood is fantastic opposite Iain De Caestecker (probably best known for his role in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) in his role as a son desperate to help his family survive by stealing copper from the abandoned buildings around where they live.
Christina Hendricks (Saffron from Firefly) is amazing as the mother driven to extremes trying to keep her home and her family together.
Honestly, I can’t think of anything I disliked about this movie and I am damn glad that I took the time to watch it. Gosling’s writing and directing are about perfect, the acting is superb, the filming locations manage to get under the viewers’ skin and create an atmosphere that truly works with the beautiful score to enhance every aspect of the story that’s being told, and the cinematography is so well done that it really draws you in.