LOST RIVER

Boos drowned out the applause when Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut screened at Cannes. That’s unfair; it’s actually pretty entertaining, even as it cheeses out toward the end. Gosling’s strength in this first effort is getting solid performances out of his actors, especially Ben Mendelsohn as a most twisted bank manager. But Gosling seems to have watched BLUE VELVET one too many times, and his tale of Recession poverty and a single mother compelled to take a nightmare job involving violent misogyny comes off as Lynch Lite. Gosling sets his story in the economic realities of a blasted Detroit. And maybe if he had styled it down and not gone for hallucinatory effect it would have played better as a social drama. (He certainly had the actors to do it. Besides Mendelsohn, Christina Hendricks is so effortlessly not Joan Harris we see a long happy career ahead for her post-“Mad Men”.) That said, the camerawork is gorgeous, with lots of spectral, spangly effects. And it’s not so arty that you get lost. So Ryan, you get right back on that horse. — Jeff Schultz

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