Ryan Gosling’s ‘Lost River’ Should Stay Lost, Critics Say

The “Drive” star’s screenwriting and directorial debut is getting hammered ahead of its opening weekend

Ryan Gosling‘s pretty face may have inspired a hundreds of flattering memes, but his directorial debut “Lost River” is inspiring the majority of critics to write nothing nasty things about it.

“Lost River,” which Gosling also wrote, currently holds a 30 percent “rotten” approval rating from 44 critics counted, so far, on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Mad Men” star Christina Hendricks plays a single mother who gets pulled into a strange underworld, while her teenage son (Iain De Caestecker) discovers a hidden underwater city.

Here are some of the worst reviews critics had to offer:

Inkoo Kang wrote in her review for TheWrap:

[The] artificial ‘Lost River’ feels like the directorial version of the phony-baloney tough-guy accent Gosling affects from time to time. The actor has proved he can be just as creatively sadistic as his hero [Nicolas Winding Refn]; if Gosling attempts a follow-up, I’d like to see some brains — and not just brain matter — behind the bluster.”

A.A. Dowd of The A.V. Club:

“[All] the ostentatious, recycled weirdness grows wearisome as the movie plods on, mostly because the first-time filmmaker hasn’t written any characters, just mannequins to arrange in his art installation piece.”

Ed Gonzalez from Slant:

“The story, more a tangle of violent, symbolic gestures, regards economic exploitation with fetishistic, impossibly overdetermined abandon. Exposition is rendered as abstraction, the dialogue a mess of mixed metaphors and pop-cultural allusions.”

Travis Hopson of Examiner:

“Not every actor is meant to be a director. Actually, most probably aren’t, although there are obviously a few notable exceptions. There are more disastrous turns than good ones, though, and unfortunately Ryan Gosling‘s pretty, incoherent, and maddeningly pretentious ‘Lost River’ falls into the former category.”

Matt Prigge of Metro:

“Everything is disposable in ‘Lost River’ and none of it has weight. When Ben Mendelsohn busts out an impromptu, predictably unpredictable dance move, it’s just another momentary distraction before the next horror. Everything in it passes before the eyes before seeping out of the memory, which, given how ugly some of it is, is just as well.”

Marjorie Baumgarten from The Austin Chronicle:

“The film is richer in atmosphere than story, and Gosling’s directorial influences are easy to detect. Borrow a little weirdness and sexual kink from David Lynch, some ethereal narrative aura from Terrence Malick, grim human interactions from Gaspar Noé…and garish, oversaturated lighting designs from Nicolas Winding Refn. These influences contribute a visual signature for Lost River, but narratively, the film is a roiling cauldron of leftovers.”