Most famous actors rely heavily on the production team during their directorial debuts and aren't very involved in the directing process. Last year, Angelina Jolie truly proved this with her movie Unbroken (actually her second film as a director though). A high budget WW2 film that Jolie clearly didn't put much effort into. It feels like the whole idea was just given to her when she called her agent and stated that she would like to direct a new movie. It is also not uncommon to see actors casting themselves in their directorial debuts, such as Zach Braff in Garden State. Lost River, is the weirdest directorial debut you'll ever see from an actor.
I've always liked Ryan Gosling. He picks his movies carefully and works great with "different" directors like Nicolas Winding Refn and Derek Cianfrance. Lost River is probably the strangest film in recent years. It is hard to explain what it is about so I'm not going to talk about that in this review.
The movie is very similar to most David Lynch films, especially Mulholland Drive. Therefore, one of the best things about Lost River is actually the cinematography, it helps to create the mysterious experience. I'm a very big fan of thrillers which don't explain everything to the viewer, but I know most people aren't. And that's why many will dislike this movie for what it is. With that being said, if you hate to re-watch films and want simple story lines, Lost River is not what you should be watching.
I really appreciate all the effort Ryan Gosling has put into this movie. It is risky to make a film like Lost River these days, and I'm glad Gosling was willing to take that risk to show his trademark. It is notable that he actually made the movie himself and didn't rely on the producers. Fans of David Lynch, Nicolas Winding Refn and David Cronenberg will surely have a good time with Lost River. I'm looking forward to Gosling's next feature, and can't wait to re-watch this film.