Lost River (2014)

I added Lost River on my list years ago because of Saoirse Ronan but, I don't know why, I never cared to watch it. Probably because it sent me a negative vibe. 

Anyways, the film centers on Billy (Christina Hendricks), a single mother of two who has fallen behind on her house payments and may lose her home because of it. As a desperate attempt to save her childhood home, she takes a disturbing job into a macabre underworld. In the meantime, her older, teenage son, Bones (Iain De Caestecker), steels chopper from old houses to make some money and gets into trouble with a vicious local criminal named Bully (Matt Smith). 

Writing the synopsis doesn't feel like the most appropriate thing when it comes to Lost River because it would be assuming that the film has a narrative structure, which it doesn't. This is not the issue with the film though, the fact that the plot is dreadfully developed, that it feels dragged even though it's quite short and rushed, and that there are many elements that aren't explored as they should have, and it has quite an abrupt ending, these are the major issues with the film. And it's quite angering because it feels the story had so much potential but ended up being a dull, predictable tale with no compelling twist. 

As for the characters, the film does a nice job at setting them up and, despite their oddness, they never feel like caricatures. Unfortunately, they don't have a background, they have very little development, and they are not very memorable —they are pretty forgettable, actually. Also, I didn't care about any of them and felt absolutely no sympathy towards them.

Despite the lacklustre screenplay, the cast does a pretty good job. Christina Hendricks is quite impressive as the single mother, although she never gets the chance to shine as she barely has something to do; Saoirse Ronan gives yet another of her compelling performances in the role of De Caestecker's love interest; Ben Mendelsohn is clearly having a lot of fun in the role of a sinister bank manager and club owner who abuses his power and position; and Matt Smith gives a menacing performance as (the) Bully, a violent, creepy man with an unpredictable behaviour. 

Warner Bros. Pictures
The visuals are easily the best aspect of Lost River. At his directorial debut, Ryan Gosling proves he has quite an eye as the film is filled with stunning, artistic shots, vibrant colours, neon lights, and successful attempts of symmetry, all clearly influenced by Nicolas Winding Refn. The melancholic score is also quite mesmerizing and fits the visuals incredibly well.

Ultimately though, Lost River still remains a pretty shallow, empty film that prefers style over substance. It doesn't have much of shock value, it's just a Refn wannabe that never reaches its potential.

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