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I'm a big fan of fine cinematography, traditionalist narratives, revolutionary narratives, black comedy, post-apocalyptia, weird sci-fi, occultism, sexual perversion, the unusual and the glorification of violence. Also, Australia for some reason. Never been there..
I hate most older Italian horror, Giallo, and most of their spaghetti westerns besides the main 3 or 4. *beep* Italians, don't get me started.
I don't watch cartoons. I don't play video games.
We probably can't be friends but if you'd like to meet up for casual sex please call me at the following number: 911.
Lost River (2014)
A tour of the lovely Detroit area. Bring the kids.
Well hey, I think I'll write a review of this for some reason.
First off, this has nothing to do with David Lynch. If you see a quirky film and automatically need to compare it to something from Lynch you should get out more. See more films, maybe even leave your basement for longer than a few hours at a time. Lost River tells a pretty straight forward story with some darkly humorous oddities thrown in. It contains human actors, buildings, and takes place on Earth so I guess in that regard I can understand the Lynch comparisons.
If you don't know, this is Ryan Gosling's debut as writer and director. The score is from Johnny Jewel (Drive), the cinematography is by Benoît Debie (Irreversible, Enter the Void), production design by Beth Mickle (Drive, Only God Forgives), set decoration from Erick Donaldson (Drive) and costume designs by Erin Benach (Blue Valentine, Drive, The Place Beyond the Pines). You should be able to see the theme here...
The look of the film is pretty much an amalgamation of the look of every film Gosling has starred in. Debie's cinematography is fantastic as usual and slightly experimental at times. It is something that should be seen on the big screen, if possible. (There will probably be no one there so all the better.) The look of the film reminds me of anything from Refn, the neonscapes of Debie/Noé and even some 70s Italian horror. The set of crumbling Detroit brings to mind Only Lovers Left Alive, Out of the Furnace, Killing Them Softly and any film that relies heavily on economically depressed areas. Lost River relies on them even more heavily...
The score is great and while it is similar to Drive there are some 80s horror vibes going on also.
Some of the main characters in the film are played by Christina Hendricks (Drive), Iain De Caestecker (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Saoirse Ronan (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Matt Smith (Doctor Who), Ben Mendelsohn (The Place Beyond the Pines) and icon of Italian horror: Barbara Steele. I assume many of the other people featured in the film are non-actor residents of Detroit.
The acting here is not going to win anyone any awards. Christina Hendricks has a great set of tits and they should be on my face 24 hours a day but that doesn't mean she can act. Many of the delivered lines seemed phoned in. There really isn't much character development but that obviously wasn't a focal point. Most seemed liked slaves to the words they were suppose to speak, besides Matt Smith. The non-actors were obviously non-actors. At first these flaws were annoying but as the film went on I learned that I was taking it all a little more seriously than I should've been. The acting and usage of non-actors recalls the weirdness of My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done, Stroszek, Gummo, Under the Skin, etc. but it's much more tame.
The tale itself is your standard "poor- family-living-in-the- wasteland-of-Detriot- stripping-copper-and-working-at-underground-death-fetish -clubs-to-make-ends-meet-while-simultaneously-trying- to-escape-the-brutal-rule-of-an- urban-redneck-gangster- and-the-sexual-pressure-of-an-insurance-agent" story. You know, normal sh*t. But seriously folks, like I said before it's all told rather linearly and only those with severe brain damage will have a hard time following along. There are plenty of abnormal things thrown in but they seem damn normal when put up against a lot of the films by the bigger named art-house and experimental directors. There is nothing wrong with that. Also, this is not really a fantasy or even all that surreal nor a horror film. It may contain elements of other genres but it's mainly drama and dark black oddball humor.
Honestly, I didn't like it that much at first but I think the key to enjoying it is to leave your critical eye and the chip on your shoulder at the door. It is what it is and Gosling obviously had a fun time creating it. This is much better than say Spring Breakers and a lot of the other popular art-house films from recent years. I was going to give it a 6 before I was done with it but it at least deserves a 6.5-7. I'm sure I'll watch it again, sooner rather than later.
(I guess I'm suppose to make an 'ultimate comparison' so here it goes: If Nicolas Winding Refn was forced to watch The Salton Sea for 14 days straight (A Clockwork Orange style) and then told to have a re-imagining of Gummo done by the end of the same month he would probably end up with something like Lost River. Or maybe not.)
A Nightmare Comedy
This was the 3rd Argento film I've seen and it is just as bad as Inferno and Tenebre. As soon as the main b*tch was walking through the airport I knew I was again in for the stupid light bulb bullsh*t. He can take his red, green, blue, purple etc. bulbs and shove them up his *ss. I think there's a torture porn video of a guy breaking glass in his rectum and there's no doubt in my mind that it was somehow influenced by his hate for the "visionary" lighting skills of Dario Argento. Except for that, the opening scene made it seem like this might actually be a good film. Good use of the camera, editing and location....same for Inferno with the underwater scene. The filming from the trees was pretty good too (besides the shitty flood light) but it all turned to C grade "horror" during the 1st murder. The b*tch is screaming about a murderer even though she can't get in the room to see what's happening. There's a hairy arm smushing the other c*nt's face on the window? Maybe the arm belonged to the hairy monster in The Lords of Salem.
In grade school I used to build gory sets in the entrance of our house every Halloween and the paint blood I used looked pretty similar to Argento's paint blood... I'd like to think my sets were scarier than Argento's because they probably were. Speaking of sets, they were suppose to be the best thing about this film and I've seen numerous people say how psychedelic they were. N*gger please. You can actually see places on the walls where they didn't put even layers of paint. They were also using acrylic (doesn't reflect light) and enamel (reflects light) black paint on some of the walls. Light reflecting paint actually looks natural and I think that's what he wanted but I guess they must've f*cked that up somehow or ran out and had to use the cheap stuff. The railing looked like Styrofoam spray painted with gold...terrible. Lesson: gold spray paint does not make an object look like polished brass. Speaking of the railing...why were there windows around it? That wall was just 'there' even though it had nothing to do with the foundation of the building if you looked at it from the outside. Anyway, the rest of the set had a high school play quality to it and many of the hand painted designs were probably painted by high school kids. However, that doesn't mean this movie was better than a high school play...
One of the funniest parts was the pointless and non-nonsensical killing of blind Adam Sandler by his own German Shepherd. Or did it kill him because he had some raw meat on his neck...? Hopefully one day they'll address this point in an ultra deluxe Criterion blu-ray release. What else? The maggots... totally visionary. "People think maggots are creepy...lets get some maggots." Same with the bat. "Bats...hmmm." The room with the giant slinky was brilliant. When I was a little kid I decided to get myself stuck in a slinky during nap time at a babysitter's house but she walked in before I got out. I had my *ss whooped so it brings back the fear.
Why is that Austrian woman smiling all the time? Are her teeth bleached? How can she teach ballet when she uses a cane? Mysteries, mysteries.
Then there's the whole dubbing English over Italians mouthing English words thing... Bat sh*t insane. Just speak Italian and subtitle it. There would've been much more time left over to fix the many other problems in the film. But oh well, what can you do?
All in all I cannot see Dario as a visionary even in the slightest sense. The man does not possess the skill set for film making. At best, he's just some guy who has never been good at anything in his life but somehow managed to acquire enough money to make movies. He masquerades his accidents as intentional and his short-sightedness as artwork. I can see how maybe some grade school kids eating freeze pops or a group of stoners looking for some laughs might be entertained by this but beyond that I think there's little of value here. The best thing about the film is the soundtrack and the f*cking wallpaper.