Entertainment Weekly has collected a large sampling of professional opinions of Lost River in Tweet form, and while comparisons to the works of great filmmakers like David Lynch and Nicolas Winding Refn are common, some are outright harsh while others seemed to enjoy it quite a bit. Easily the most negative reaction comes from Wesley Morris of Grantland, who wrote coming out of the screening:
If a $200 haircut and $900 shades were given lots of money to defecate on Detroit, the result would be Ryan Gosling's directing debut.— Wesley Morris (@Wesley_Morris) May 20, 2014
Others have done a clearer job of explaining exactly what it is about Ryan Gosling's film that doesn't work. Kate Muir of The Times UK was one of many critics to spot the new director's clear inspirations, but noted that they didn't exactly work together well on screen (or at least weren't combined properly):
Cripes. Ryan Gosling's Lost River is a lurid mash up of Lynch, Refn and Edward Hopper. In a bad way. #Cannes2014— Kate Muir (@muirkate) May 20, 2014
A big part of what's splitting critics is the difference between what some see to be pretentiousness and what others simply view as artful. One big supporter of the film seems to be Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood, who praised Gosling's vision as a filmmaker:
Likewise, Peter Howell of the Toronto Star had a positive reaction to Lost River, but was also very quick to notice how divisive it would be:
LOST RIVER: Unholy Motors. Gosling's Motown fantasy blitzes eye & mind. Carax/Lynch honored, audience baffled, but that's OK. #Cannes2014— Peter Howell (@peterhowellfilm) May 20, 2014
Based on an original screenplay that Ryan Gosling wrote himself, the film is a dark fantasy that centers on a single mother who discovers that her son has found access to a secret underwater town. The impressive cast included Christina Hendricks (who worked with Gosling on Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive), Saoirse Ronan, Eva Mendes, and Doctor Who's Matt Smith. While Lost River's earliest reactions are coming out now, we're not entirely sure when we'll be able to see it for ourselves. Warner Bros. is on-board the movie for theatrical distribution, but has not yet announced a release date.