The first teaser trailer for Bret Easton Ellis and Paul Schrader’s low budget “contemporary L.A. noir” indie The Canyons was released this week. The crowd-sourced film has an interesting cast in notoriously troubled star Lindsay Lohan, porn star James Deen, and director Gus Van Sant. Of course, the film is made up of the tried and true Ellis formula: disaffected, rich 20-somethings as they navigate their way through caustic relationships fueled by drugs and violence in the big city. In the press release, the film is described as exploring the “dangers of sexual obsession and ambition, both personally and professionally, among a group of young people in their 20s and how one chance meeting connected to the past unravels all of their lives, resulting in deceit, paranoia and ultimately violence.”
The trailer (sans dialogue) gives off a campy '70s grindhouse vibe despite looking visually pleasing with some of the vast, paradisiacal shots reminiscent of Godard’s Contempt.
Personally, I’m intrigued by this project because I’m interested by the people involved. You could say that Bret Easton Ellis’ schtick is a bit tired, but his writing is usually pretty thought-provoking and compelling. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t go through a phase of reading a bunch of his novels a few years ago. I’m also really interested by Paul Schrader (who we discussed in class) and his involvement as a director, since he is considered one of the Hollywood greats. And who doesn’t want to watch anything Lindsay Lohan does whether it’s in hopes of a comeback or for pure schadenfreude? I’m not that impressed by the kitschy Tarantino-esque vibe of the trailer, but considering who’s involved it really has the potential to go either way in terms of quality. The Canyons: complete train wreck or sleeper hit? Either way, I’ll be watching.