Director: Ryan Gosling
Cast: Christina Hendricks, Iain De Caestecker, Matt Smith
Release Date: Own it today on Blu-Ray & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9.5/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
“Lost River” is a dark fairy tale about love, family and the fight for survival in the face of danger. In the virtually abandoned city of Lost River, Billy (Christina Hendricks), a single mother of two, is led into a macabre underworld in her quest to save her childhood home and hold her family together. Her teenage son Bones (Iain De Casestecker) discovers a mystery about the origins of Lost River that triggers his curiosity and sets in motion an unexpected journey that will test his limits and the limits of those he loves.
The town of ‘Lost River’ is a dangerous and decaying shell of what it once was, now a city that is slowly dying and while most have moved on, some refuse to depart their hometown, now a barren wasteland unofficially controlled by a psychopath named Bully (Smith) who takes what we wants and brutally retaliates at all who dare oppose him in any way. Single mother Bobby (Hendricks) along with her two sons is one such family who can’t bring themselves to leave. With the payments on the house three months behind, the threat of losing their home looms and now Bobby must make a difficult choice by accepting a strange job offered to her at random in the hope of saving her family’s house. Meanwhile her oldest son Bones (Caestecker) and his friend Rat (Ronan) find themselves in their own battle with the town’s sadistic controller Bully whom Bones infuriated by stealing back his own property which Bull previously stole from him.
Ryan Gosling makes his directorial debut with ‘Lost River’ which he both wrote and directed. Gosling does a fantastic job behind the camera, guiding his own unique and impressive tale in a style which can’t help but feel as if he’s channeling some of the greats. The film also benefits tremendously from the impressive performances delivered by the majority of the cast, including such talented individuals as Christina Hendricks (Drive, TV’s Mad Men), Iain De Caestecker (TV’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Saoirse Ronan (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Matt Smith (Terminator Genisys, TV’s Doctor Who), Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises), Eva Mendes (Training Day) and more, all of whom deliver more than capable performances, although Matt Smith steals the show in my opinion, delivering an eerily sadistic performance with his portrayal of the town’s self-elected controller Bully.
‘Lost River’ is a breathtaking and mesmerizing film. A beautiful, disturbing and intricately weaved dark fairy tale about a town that has been all but forgotten by most and the painful daily lives of those who still inhabit it, whether by choice or other means keeping them. Ryan Gosling has brought together a truly impressive and unique film here and when considering it’s his first effort at both writing and directing, it’s just all the more remarkable and I look forward (hopefully) to some more efforts from him behind the camera in the future. While admittedly the film won’t be for everyone, for those who appreciate more offbeat and thought provoking mystery’s that don’t necessarily follow all of the general guidelines of most mainstream cinema, I can’t possibly recommend ‘Lost River’ highly enough, it is not to be missed.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Lost River’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.4:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty solid as a whole, perfectly representing the rich and vivid colors that are so prominently on display in the film, while also delivering a sharp and detailed presentation with everything down to the edges of the picture looking pretty fantastic. Even the numerous dark moments are always more than discernible and never suffer from any noticeable faults throughout. Overall, this is a pretty top notch high definition video presentation that should not disappoint.
The Blu-Ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack perfectly balances the tame moments with the much louder sequences, taking full advantage of all five available channels to surround the viewer with the films gorgeous score in addition to some natural and slightly eerie background elements, while always making certain that all dialogue occurring simultaneously never becomes inaudible or negatively affected in any way. Overall, just as with the video presentation, this is a top notch 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that definitely adds an additional level of enjoyment to the overall experience of the movie.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Lost River’ unfortunately does not contain anything in the way of bonus content.