A single mother is swept into a dark underworld while her son discovers an underwater town.
Lost River is a 2014 American fantasy-neo-noir film written, produced and directed by Ryan Gosling, in his directorial debut. The film stars Christina Hendricks, Iain De Caestecker, Matt Smith, Saoirse Ronan and Eva Mendes. Principal photography began in Detroit on May 6, 2013. The film premiered in competition in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, and was released in the United States on April 10, 2015.
A single mother is swept into a dark underworld, while her teenage son discovers a road that leads him to a secret underwater town.
Single mother Billy lives in a rundown Detroit neighborhood with her two sons, Bones and Franky. Billy and Bones both love Franky but are fairly distant from each other. In his spare time, Bones explores the abandoned houses in town while trying to avoid a vicious local criminal named Bully. One day, Bully catches Bones taking something from a home, which he claims to be his own property. He chases Bones away, screaming maniacally. Billy, meanwhile, meets with a banker, Dave, regarding a loan that Carl (the father of her sons) left her so that she could stay in the home, which originally belonged to her grandmother. Since Billy is unemployed, she is unable to repay the bank, and must begin searching for a job in order to pay for the house.
A construction crew begins tearing down the vacant houses in the neighborhood. One man spray-paints a D on Billys house, indicating that it will be torn down if she is unable to pay off the loan. We meet the familys neighbor Rat, who lives with her grandmother and her pet rat Nick. Rat sings a melancholic tune about someone loving her. Bones takes a look underwater in the nearby river to see many discarded materials and constructions. He meets Rat, who tells him that there used to be a town that was flooded when a reservoir was built, hence the name "Lost River". Rat mentions having a video of it that her grandmother has kept for years. She notes that the only way to break the "curse" of the land is to get a piece of land from underwater and bring it to the surface. Billy is taken by a friendly cab driver to a burlesque studio downtown. She enters among the crowded audience to see a show put on by the main performer, Cat. The appeal of the show is a realistically gory murder show where Cat gets stabbed multiple times and has her "blood" spray all over the delighted audience. Billy goes backstage and meets with Cat, who asks her what kind of experience in performing she has.
Bones goes to Rats home and watches the video that features her grandmother. Later, they go out to a gas station store and encounter Bully with his henchman Face, whose lips were cut off by Bully, leaving him horribly disfigured. Bones hides from Bully as he starts to talk to Rat. To protect Bones, Rat accepts Bullys offer when he opts to give her a ride home. He takes her home and finds Nick. He grabs the rat and viciously kills it in front of Rat. Billy has to take Franky to work since Bones was out with Rat. For her performance, Billy makes it look like shes cutting off her face, which excites the audience. She later sits with Dave, who hosts the joint. He disapproves of her having her son there, and then he sings a song to the audience. He takes her home and makes a pass at her. It becomes increasingly threatening when he says he likes to "f***" and that its a problem for him. Billy tries to talk him down, though since Dave is half-deaf, he mostly hears mumbles. The next shot shows Billy lying on the couch, crying.
Bones tells Rat that he knows how to break the curse. He leaves her with Franky while he goes into the river to cut off the head of a dinosaur statue. Meanwhile, Face enters Rats home and sets it on fire with her grandmother still there. He goes down with the flames as Rat goes to find her grandmother. She fails to get her out of there but she gets Franky away from the fire. Bones sets a car on fire and waits for Bully to come driving by. He hurls the dinosaur head at Bullys windshield, causing him to crash against the burning car and get launched out where he drowns in the water.
At work, Billy is sealed in a chamber like some kind of doll while Dave performs a sexual dance routine around her, making her very uncomfortable. She is let out of the chamber and she stabs Dave in the ear, leaving him to bleed out. Billy returns to find her sons and Rat sitting on the steps of their home while Rats house continues to burn. With the help of the cab driver, the four of them run away and leave Lost River behind them.
Christina Hendricks as Billy
Iain De Caestecker as Bones
Saoirse Ronan as Rat
Matt Smith as Bully
Eva Mendes as Cat
Ben Mendelsohn as Dave
Reda Kateb as Cab Driver
In May 2013, scenes were shot at the Masonic Temple in Detroit, Michigan.
The film premiered on May 20, 2014, at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was met with both boos and cheers by the audience. Warner Bros. Pictures, the U.S. distributor of the film, was subsequently reported to be considering selling its distribution rights to another studio. On December 30, 2014, Warner Bros. announced that Lost River would have a limited release in early 2015, and debut simultaneously on video on demand platforms.
Lost River was part of the SXSW Film Festival in March 2015 in Austin, Texas.
The first official tease of the films music came on February 3 when Chromatics issued a single for their song, "Yes (Love Theme from Lost River)," which is featured in the film. Lost River composer Johnny Jewel will be releasing the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to the film on his label Italians Do It Better March 30. The soundtrack will feature music from the score, as well as songs from the film by Glass Candy, Chromatics, Desire, and Symmetry, plus songs sung by Saoirse Ronan and Ben Mendelsohn, who star in the film. The soundtrack will be released on CD, digitally and as a limited 3xLP on purple vinyl.
Ryan Gosling directed Lost River and appears in Drive. Legion. Marc E Platt and others produced Lost River and Evidence. David Lancaster and Michel Litvak produced Lost River and The Hole. After (2012).
Lost River received mixed to negative reviews at the time of its release. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 29%, based on 62 reviews, with an average rating of 4.6/10. The sites critical consensus reads, "Lost River suggests that debuting writer-director Ryan Gosling may have a bright future as a filmmaker, but it doesnt hold together well enough to recommend on its own merit." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 42 out of 100, based on 20 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian stated that the film is "colossally indulgent, shapeless, often fantastically and unthinkingly offensive and at all times insufferably conceited". Kate Muir of The Sunday Times indicated that "Ryan Goslings Lost River is a lurid mash up of Lynch, Refn and Edward Hopper. In a bad way." Robbie Collin of The Telegraph called the film "dumbfoundingly poor" and stated that Gosling "confuses making film with assembling Tumblr of David Lynch & Mario Bava gifs".