Ryan Gosling hasn’t appeared on the big screen recently, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been hard at work on a movie. The actor has been busy working behind the camera on his feature directorial debut, Lost River. The fantasy thriller premiered at Cannes Film Festival almost a year ago and now, the rest of the world is finally getting a look at it in the strange and surreal first trailer.
Also written and produced by Gosling, Lost River is described as a fantastical neo-noir film. It follows the story of a teenage boy named Bones (played by Iain De Caestecker), who is forced to take care of his younger brother after their single mother runs into financial difficulties and enters a dark lifestyle. After escaping a confrontation with the town’s feared bully while trying to raise money for his family, Bones ends up uncovering a road leading to an underwater utopia.
The movie features a pretty impressive ensemble cast, thanks to Gosling’s considerable connections and star power. Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks stars as Bones’ mother, Billy, while Doctor Who’s Matt Smith plays the town tyrant, appropriately named Bully. The Grand Budapest Hotel’s Saoirse Ronan co-stars as the girl next door, Rat. Meanwhile, Eva Mendes portrays a performer named Cat. With such a strong cast and a much-adored Oscar nominee like Gosling at the wheel, it seemed as if Lost River would have no problem winning over critics. Unfortunately for Gosling, that’s not exactly how things turned out.
The film was critically panned after its premiere at Cannes last year. Some cut the actor a break, pointing out that it was his first directorial effort and that the movie made it clear that he has a good eye and is willing to take risks. Still, the vast majority of reviewers found more bad than good in the film. Specifically, critics made it known that several aesthetic elements of Lost River (originally titled How To Catch A Monster) seem derivative — borrowed from works from Terrence Malick, Harmony Korine, and David Lynch.
These dreamy visuals are evident in the trailer, with glimpses of fiery objects, neon lights, and a striking scene of a boy running across a green field. Though the clip doesn’t do much to clarify the already murky plot, we do also get memorable shots of a bloody Mendes lying on the ground and winking and Hendricks’ character begging to keep her house for the sake of her boys.
Now that the trailer is finally out, the question remains whether the movie can fare better with a regular audience than it did with critics. Gosling’s name, the star-studded cast, and all of the appealing visuals will likely draw some interest. With an odd but intriguing teaser to boot, viewers may feel just curious enough to tune in.
Lost River is scheduled to hit theaters in New York and Los Angeles on April 10, the same day that it also premieres on Video On Demand services.