Ryan Gosling debut fails to light Cannes critics' fire

Tue May 20, 2014 1:15pm EDT
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By Alexandria Sage

CANNES France (Reuters) - Hollywood actor Ryan Gosling burned up the screen at the Cannes film festival with his directorial debut on Tuesday, but critics' reaction was a damp squib.

Gosling's "Lost River", which was to premiere at Cannes on Tuesday night, includes enough images of blazing buildings to satisfy the most ardent pyromaniac.

But early comments posted on Twitter following an advance press screening were overwhelmingly caustic. Tim Robey of Britain's Daily Telegraph called the film - set in a near-deserted community pockmarked by scorched houses - a "crapocalypse."

Gosling's movie, which he also wrote, is one of 19 to compete in the "Un Certain Regard" category for emerging directors at the prestigious festival on the French Riviera.

The Hollywood heartthrob has been a frequent visitor to Cannes as an actor, most recently accompanying two Nicolas Winding Refn films - the bloody slasher set in Bangkok, "Only God Forbids", and pulp thriller "Drive".

The influence of Winding Refn - who this year is a jury member in the festival's main competition - was palpable, said critics.

A young man named Bones (Iain De Caestecker), along with his mother (Christina Hendricks) and little brother, are practically the only family left that hasn't yet cleared out of the community, visibly hit by tough times.

When their home is scheduled for demolition due to a mortgage debt, Bones strips abandoned houses for copper wiring to sell and his mother starts working at an underground fetish club where a cabaret show features women being slashed and stabbed.   Continued...

Director Ryan Gosling poses during a photocall for the film "Lost River" in competition for the category "Un Certain Regard" at the 67th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes May 20, 2014.    REUTERS/Yves Herman