Tag Archives: David Lynch

Lost River (2015)

19 Apr

Heartthrob/meme generator Ryan Gosling makes his first debut into the world of directing with Lost River.  Starring Christina Hendricks, Iain De Caestecker, Saoirse Ronan, Ben Mendelsohn, Eva Mendes and Matt SmithLost River tells a story of a poverty-stricken family trying to scrounge up enough dough to keep mortgage on the family home alive in an increasingly destructive city.

A mirror to modern day Detroit (where the film was actually shot), the once prosperous city of Lost River has turned into a surreal wasteland due to economic collapse. Desperate to keep her family from leaving, Billy (Christina Hendricks) takes a job offer from the mysterious Dave (Ben Mendelsohn), while her son Bones (Iain De Caestecker) hunts for copper and other abandoned items of value in the desolated neighborhood. Meanwhile, Bully (Matt Smith), the self-proclaimed “King of Lost River” becomes rattled at the thought of Bones taking what now belongs to him, and the two forces start a violent fight for control of the area.

Stylistically, Lost River takes its influences from a variety of sources. It’s obvious that Gosling has seen his share of David Lynch, Terrence Malick, Nicholas Winding Refn and Harmony Korine, and he is trying hard to emulate them all at once here. Mostly it works on the surface, but beneath the slow-moving (and beautifully shot) images of a decaying suburb lies a film that somehow feels thematically hollow. Lost River is a hodgepodge of ideas and emotions, none of which get fully developed, making the film a classic exercise in style over substance.  However, Gosling seems to know what he is doing, and technically the film is a marvel considering it’s his first array into the directors chair.

Bottom Line: While most viewers will find Lost River either too pretentious or too diluted, I thought there was just enough visually brooding sophistication to keep me happy. That and Ben Mendelsohn’s dancing.

Screenshot 2015-04-18 22.53.46

 

Rating 6/10 

Film Recipe: Every single Nicholas Winding Refn movie ever + Every single David Lynch movie ever + Cosmopolis (2012) + The Warriors (1979) 

Enemy (2014)

5 Jun

Filmed before but released after 2013’s breakout thriller Prisoners and also starring Jake Gyllenhaal, director Denis Villeneuve takes the road of the arthouse in his new film EnemyBased on a similar premise to this year’s fantastic comedy The Double, Enemy focuses on one man who comes across what appears to be his exact copy.  Gyllenhaal plays Adam, a university professor who spends his days teaching history and his nights with his lover Mary (Melanie Laurent).  His life is one of repetition; a cycle of rhythms  consisting of school, food and sex. His cyclical and comfortable lifestyle is interrupted when a coworker recommends a film that has an exact lookalike as Adam in the background. We soon find out this actor is named Anthony (who is also played by Gyllenhaal), and he curiously doesn’t live too far from where Adam works. The rest of the film becomes a hazy mess of events that spiral out through the interactions between Anthony the actor and Adam the spectator, and eventually concludes with a complex examination of the duality inherent in everyone.

Enemy is a dark, cryptic, and brooding film that relies heavily on atmosphere and tone. Lying somewhere in between the styles of Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, and David Cronenberg, Villeneuve makes incredible use of lighting, music, and color to give us a mysterious and puzzling look into the lives of these duplicate characters.  The film becomes a sort of Freudian gaze into the subconscious when Gyllenhaal’s two characters each try to manipulate each other and each other’s woman. Wrought symbolism, tension, and the ongoing threat of violence, Enemy is not your everyday film, and many people will be frustrated by the film’s lack of focus on plot and character. I think the film has more to say that it initially lets on however, and multiple viewings and discussions will prove to be useful.  Enemy is an artful delight filled with various puzzles and meanings, and while it might prove to be too complex for some, it’s still provocatively thoughtful in its execution.

Rating 9/10 

Similar to: Mulholland Drive, Cosmopolis, Under The Skin

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