When Christian, an LA trust-fund kid with casual ties to Hollywood, learns of a secret affair between Tara and the lead of his film project, Ryan, he spirals out of control, and his cruel mind games escalate into an act of bloody violence.
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I kinda liked this film, but it could have been so much better. Schrader is a great screenwriter ("You talkin' to ME?") but a pretty crummy director. The whole eulogy to cinema thing somehow got relegated to the credits? Doesn't Schrader know that most people don't watch credits? Those images should have been sprinkled throughout the film, for starters. Lohan really is a good actress, she deserves more respect.
PS returns to the dark Hollywood noir of American Gigolo to create a vapid, empty exposé of a vapid, empty generation. Conversations here have the depth of instant messaging, and that's sort of the point; all has become artifice and spectacle; the drama of the self! Cinema is dead because young people are now actors in a narrative of their own creation. In our post-Facebook world, truth has become the latest fiction.
1 star for Lindsay Lohan - who I found so magnetic and the only decent actor on this cast - and another for the cinematography: the scenes by the swimming pool and the lights on that bedroom were stunning. The rest is pretty bad: James Deen is terrible, the plot said nothing to me and the trailer promised so much more than what the movie delivered.
I feel as though the criticisms the movie is getting (featuring poor acting and poorly structured scenes) are more or less a response the movie's existential angst, which the movie somewhat does successfully. This characters aren't suppose to be nuanced or well behaved or exist with a moral compass. That's what evades Ellis's writing in which Schrader somewhat engages with. Not terrible, just not as effecting.
What a hot mess of a film The Canyons is. Guilty pleasure potential, but really poorly written. I expect better from Bet Easton Ellis; the dialogue was horrendous. Lohan wasn't awful - she was doing her best - but she looked like shit. James Deen was unconvincing. 5/10 and an emphatic, "What."
Bret Easton Ellis is one of the greatest American novelists of the 20th century, Paul Schrader is a masterful director. The Canyons is a complete failure. On every possible level. Pedantic, pretentious, involuntarily funny (Lohan watching Night of the Living Dead on TV... Seriously?) Steven Soderbergh's The Girlfriend Experience is everything that this film desperately wanted to be. Ruins. Porn. Just ruined.
Is it a complete failure? Nope. Does the film fail to be compelling through the majority of its running time? Yep. Could it all have been better? Who knows, but everything that's done here has been done before and better by both Schrader and Ellis. There is some fine work within however and fans or completeists for either craftsman will not find their time utterly wasted.