3 things about Paul Schrader’s THE CANYONS

The Canyons [2013]

1. Sitting outside at the sidewalk cafe. Traffic streams by continuously. An attention to street signs.
2. “Because he’s a bad boy. He’s a bad little boy.”
“Go on.”
3. A grand piano on the second floor that obviously no one ever plays.

Having finally seen it, I’m slightly puzzled by its negative reputation. Now, The Informers was just plain awful, but this movie is actually executed with some skill and verve. Just because it’s a portrait of vapid materialism doesn’t mean the movie itself is vapid. Schrader keeps things visually interesting (for example, I love the way the opening scene is edited), the music score is appropriately brooding and synthy, and the characters are vintage Brett Easton Ellis nasties. As Christian, James Deen makes for exactly the kind of smarmy, weaselly trust fund twentysomething that Ellis writes so well. The rest of the casting is also perfect. Whether because she’s a decent actress and/or real messed up in real life, Lindsay Lohan is perfect as Tara. And having Gus Van Sant play the psychiatrist? Genius. In short, though this is a story about some really unpleasant, screwed up people, I thought The Canyons was pretty fascinating. 

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