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Pretty good directorial debut from Ryan Gosling. It's highly influenced by Lynch, Winding Refn and Malick, but I don't think that's a flaw. Tarantino copies everything and is hailed as one of the best directors of his generation (I also like him as a director though). Cinematography and style are stunning, just as the score (by Johnny Jewel). The one problem I have with this film, is the story. The story isn't just that spectacular. And it isn't suspenseful enough to be a real dark fairytale. I'd give it 7/10. I'm looking forward to see more from Gosling as a director, I think he has the potential to become a very good one.
You can clearly see the influence from Refn, but this film isn't as vivid as Refns work. Good start though. 6/10 maybe 7 if you overlook poor effort at storytelling.
Coming off Drive and Only God Forgives, Ryan Gosling was evidently heavily inspired by his collaborations with Nicolas Winding Refn for his writer-director debut, Lost River. The colorful cinematography, the use of non-professional actors, the dips into disturbing gore… all are staples of Refn's work. This isn't a criticism, it gives makes the picture at once otherworldly and grounded in reality. Set in a decaying Rust Belt town in the here and now, the film reminds us that postapocalyptic and dystopian stories aren't as far from the real world as we'd like. The impoverished neighborhood of our characters is patrolled by a psychotic warlord played by Matt Smith*, while Christina Hendricks' single mother must head uptown to make ends meet by working in a strange, decadent, burlesque show. Meanwhile, her eldest son finds a town submerged under water, and in it may be the key to saving all their lives, but only if one believes in solutions born of magical realism. It's about the failed promises of the American Dream, not just to the individual, but to entire communities. It paints a world gone mad, but it's unfortunately one we recognize.
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