The Movie: 7/10
To enjoy a movie watching experience can be tricky sometimes. There are the big action flicks that can be fun and exciting, which can be enjoyable. There are the sad thought-provoking stories that stimulate the brain and the emotions and that can be strangely enjoyable. There are even the really confronting movies with themes that are stark, dangerous, highly charged with messages about the human condition. These movies tell stories that can be harsh, but also, have that leftover feeling of having enjoyed the experience. Lost River falls in between some of these types. It’s somewhat sad, somewhat confronting, and somewhat thought-provoking. “Somewhat” is the key word here. It doesn’t commit to being either really harsh and confronting or calm with a bit of ethereal quality about it. It’s stuck in the middle of those two vibes, which is fine, but that element of enjoyment is harder to find in that spot.
I did like a lot about Lost River. The visual style is appealing to me. There are many beautiful shots around a decaying city that are strangely beautiful. Some of the sets are designed in a way that make them feel claustrophobic, creepy, strange, and they are done well enough to draw me in completely. The music is subtle but has impact most of the time. It can feel like a big red arrow pointing you to an emotion in a lot of movies, but this time around it seemed to blend with the ideas and themes of each scene.
The performances are excellent, of course. I mean, there is a lot of staring into space, looking sad, looking annoyed, being angry, crying in silence, and other non verbal moments, but that’s not to say those moments aren’t charged with real emotion from the performers. It all works, from Dr. Who to Joan from Mad Men, everyone transforms enough to be the characters in this sad small town.
If enjoying a movie includes letting your mind wander to expand on either a visual or an idea from the story, well, then I enjoyed it more than I think I did. A lot of the story of this town centers around water, a drowned town, a street that goes under a lake, and an overall kind of dampness throughout. That made my mind go to other parts of the same world these people live in. I wonder about what it was like before things changed. Was it lively and bright, or was it sad and drab? I wasn’t distracted from the movie itself to think of these things, but during bathroom breaks, yea, my mind went to other possibilities, which is enjoyable for sure.
Overall I did like many elements of Lost River. Ben Mendelsohn is one of the most intimidating non-intimidating characters I have seen in a long time. He’s gives every scene with Christina Hendricks a certain threat level that paralyzes your mind into a weird kind of fear. I’m not sure, though, that the movie has much impact as a whole. The individual scenes, especially with Matt Smith being a nut case bad guy with a certain flare that has a bit impact on the whole world we are viewing through the looking-glass of our big screen. It didn’t leave me with that “Oh that was amazing” feeling. I’m more of the mind that it scratches an itch that involves humans living lives that are pretty down and sad and yet they find a way, any way to elevate themselves and make the changes they need to find some happiness. That is definitely enjoyable:)
- UV Digital Copy
Cover Art: 8/10
A good cover for a good movie, it’s rare but Lost River does it. I would have this as a mini poster in our movie room for sure.
Audio & Video: 9/10
Lost River is an acquired taste and I would not recommend it to everyone. That said Warner’s 1080P AVC encoded presentation lets Benoit Debie’s amazing cinematography shine through. Ryan Gosling chose a neon color palette for this film and it really makes things seem very otherworldly. Black levels are superb and detail is fantastic throughout the runtime. Gosling chose to use the RED One camera which usually has a lot of noise in dark scenes, but somehow the noise is lacking here so I guess he knows which dials to turn. Lost River is a superb visual feast that will please even the most jaded Blu-Ray fan.
Johnny Jewel scores Lost River with a nightmarish track that goes from synth pop to orchestral score and the DTS-HD Master Audio track handles it all with ease. There are also some very subtle atmospheric sounds during the nightclub sequences. It’s quite obvious that Ryan Gosling has an eye and ear for the technical side of filmmaking and that is evident on this presentation.
Overall Score /10