Lost River (film)

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Lost River
Lost River poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ryan Gosling
Produced by Ryan Gosling
David Lancaster
Michel Litvak
Marc Platt
Adam Siegel
Jeffrey Stott
Written by Ryan Gosling
Starring Christina Hendricks
Iain De Caestecker
Matt Smith
Saoirse Ronan
Eva Mendes
Ben Mendelsohn
Rob Zabrecky
Music by Johnny Jewel[1]
Cinematography Benoît Debie
Edited by Nico Leunen
Bold Films
Marc Platt Productions
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • May 20, 2014 (2014-05-20) (Cannes)
  • April 10, 2015 (2015-04-10) (United States)
Running time
95 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2 million
Box office $33,050[2]

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.[3] The film premiered in competition in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival,[4] and was released in the United States on April 10, 2015.[5][6]


In a small town in Detroit, there lives Billy and her two sons, Bones and Franky. Billy and Bones both love Franky but are fairly distant from each other. In his spare time, Bones goes around the abandoned houses in town to look for spare scrap parts while avoiding the town's vicious criminal Bully. Bully catches Bones taking something from a home, which he claims to be his own property. Bones runs away as Bully screams maniacally. Billy meets with the bank manager Dave since she is unable to repay a loan that Carl (the father of her sons) left her so that she could stay in her grandmother's home. She has no job or source of income, leaving her in a tight situation. Dave suggests Billy to a job in town.

A group of construction workers begin tearing down the houses in the neighborhood. One man spray-paints a D on Billy's house. We meet the family's 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 Rat's 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 Bully's 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 she's 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 fuck and that it's 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 Rat's 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 Bully's 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 really 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 Rat's house continues to burn. With the help of the cab driver, the four of them run away and leave Lost River behind them.



In May 2013, scenes were shot at the Masonic Temple in Detroit, Michigan.[10]


The film premiered on May 20, 2014, at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was met with both boos and cheers by the audience.[11] Warner Bros. Pictures, the U.S. distributor of the film,[5] was subsequently reported to be considering selling its distribution rights to another studio.[12] On December 29, 2014, Warner Bros. announced that it would have a limited release of Lost River, along with a simultaneous debut on video on demand platforms in early 2015.[5] Lost River is part of the SXSW Film Festival 2015 in March 2015 in Austin, Texas.[13][14]


The first official tease of the film's 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.

Critical reception[edit]

Lost River received negative reviews from its debut at Cannes, and then mixed reviews at the time of its release. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 31%, based on 58 reviews, with an average rating of 4.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Lost River suggests that debuting writer-director Ryan Gosling may have a bright future as a filmmaker, but it doesn't hold together well enough to recommend on its own merit."[15] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 42 out of 100, based on 20 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[16]

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian stated that the film is "colossally indulgent, shapeless, often fantastically and unthinkingly offensive and at all times insufferably conceited".[17] Kate Muir of The Sunday Times indicated that "Ryan Gosling's Lost River is a lurid mash up of Lynch, Refn and Edward Hopper. In a bad way."[18] 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'".[19]


  1. ^ Battan, Carrie (July 23, 2013). "Johnny Jewel Talks About His Upcoming Film Projects, Including Ryan Gosling's Directorial Debut". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved December 14, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Lost River (2015)". Box Office Mojo. 2015-04-10. Retrieved 2015-04-26. 
  3. ^ "'How To Catch A Monster', directed by Ryan Gosling, is filming on location in Detroit on Friday". Retrieved 2013-05-10. 
  4. ^ "2014 Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c McNary, Dave (December 29, 2014). "Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Will Not Get Theatrical Release". Variety (Penske Business Media, LLC). Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Lost River Trailer: Ryan Gosling Makes His Directorial Debut". Slashfilm.com. 2015-02-03. Retrieved 2015-04-10. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "'Beasts' Star Eyes 'Annie', Ronan Joins Gosling's 'Monster' and Booth Joins Wachowski's 'Jupiter'". Retrieved 2013-05-10. 
  8. ^ Fleming, Jr., Mike (June 17, 2013). "Iain DeCaestecker Gets Lead In Ryan Gosling-Directed 'How To Catch A Monster'". Deadline.com. Retrieved June 17, 2013. 
  9. ^ Barton, Steve (2015-03-30). "Lost River Flows Toward Featurette". Dread Central. Retrieved 2015-04-10. 
  10. ^ Christine (May 17, 2013). "‘How To Catch A Monster’ filming locations in Detroit on May 17, 20, & 21 in Detroit, Plus more fan photos!". On Location Vacations. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  11. ^ Hammond, Pete (May 20, 2014). "Cannes: Ryan Gosling Faces A Critical Firing Squad After Directing Debut; Steve Carell Talks Oscar". Deadline.com. This is the first film this year where I heard boos, but to be fair there were some cheers mixed in. One wag called it 'choos'. 
  12. ^ Fleming, Mike, Jr. (May 21, 2014). "Cannes: Warner Bros. Talking To Indie Distributors About Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River'". Deadline.com. 
  13. ^ Fleming, Mike, Jr. (May 21, 2014). "'Lost River' to Screen at 2015 SXSW". Deadline.com. 
  14. ^ Fleming, Mike, Jr. (May 21, 2014). "SXSW Film Festival 2015 Lineup". SXSW. 
  15. ^ "Lost River (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2015-04-26. 
  16. ^ "Lost River". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 10, 2015. 
  17. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (20 May 2014). "Cannes review: Lost River - Ryan Gosling flounders with directorial debut". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  18. ^ 13.30 EDT (2014-05-20). "Lost River reviews roundup: Cannes pours scorn on Ryan Gosling | Film". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-04-26. 
  19. ^ "Sorry, Bro! Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut panned at Cannes | Entertain This!". Entertainthis.usatoday.com. 2014-05-20. Retrieved 2015-04-26. 

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