Ryan Gosling’s debut film as director polarised critics at its debut screening at the Cannes Film Festival.

The advance screening of Gosling's Lost River was an eagerly anticipated event of day six of the festival, and crowds started queuing outside the famous Palais des Festivals for over 2 hours before the film was due to start.

Lost River is a baroque fairy tale set in the ruins of Detroit, which is equal parts nostalgic and gruesome. The narrative – such as it is – follows a single mother’s attempts to avoid foreclosure on her home, whilst her eldest son strips abandoned houses for money. The film stars Christina Hendricks and features Ben Mendelsohn and Matt Smith, both in ‘big bad wolf’ roles, as a bank manager and a town thug respectively.

Early reactions from critics were scathing. Robbie Collin of The Telegraph called it "dumb-foundingly poor." Variety's Scott Foundas called it a "first-rate folie de grandeur." 

Screen called the film an “over-cooked affair that lacks a much needed wit and humour to go alongside its self-aware art intentions”.