Quebec Logan’s review published on Letterboxd:
somewhere in Lost River are two compelling, but not necessarily good, movies:
the first is about Bones and Rat, two teenagers living in the rundown shell of a former urban neighborbood, who are on the run from a local hood named Bully, after Bones steals from him in order to earn some fast money and to get a bit of revenge along the way.
the second is about a woman named Billy, a mother of two who finds herself desperately in need of money when her house is up for foreclosure, and ends up discovering a gothic, cultish nightclub where she earns the cash she needs, but at a hellish and disturbing price.
unfortunately, these films mashed together leaves the entirety of Lost River a sloppy, poorly paced, emotionless and incoherent bore, and the additional inclusion of the supernatural "underwater city" and the mysticism behind it just serves to further bog down this already tiresome and disappointing film. as tragic as it is, in order to even begin to save this story, wed have to either make the supernatural subplot more elegant and pervasive than it was presented, or remove that aspect entirely. kill your darlings, people.
although, truth be told, its not a complete loss; this movie is saved by three things and three things alone:
-the visuals, which ryan gosling seems to have a spectacular eye for.
-the performance from matt smith, who, despite not having much to work with, did an excellent job portraying an awful villain.
-and the concept itself, which is SO original and SO frustratingly enticing it makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs
i think the main problem is that Lost River was far too ambitious of a debut for Gosling. his mind and his conceptual prowess is...intimidating. but i do believe that with some very slight tweaks and some nudges in the right direction, his next work could be something truly magnificent.
this aint it tho
also, mild spoiler, but bones was NOT cute enough to justify saoirses rat dying. js