Written By: Ryan Gosling
Cast: Christina Hendricks, Matt Smith, Saoirse Ronan, Eva Mendes, Ben Mendelsohn, and Iain De Caestecker
Synopsis (via Coming Soon): “How to Catch a Monster” weaves elements of fantasy noir, and suspense into a modern day fairytale. Set against the surreal dreamscape of a vanishing city, Billy, a single mother of two, is swept into a macabre and dark fantasy underworld while her teenage son discovers a secret road leading to an underwater town. Both Billy and Bones must dive deep into the mystery, if their family is to survive.
Ryan Gosling has certainly demonstrated that he’s an incredibly talented actor, so perhaps he’s got just as much aptitude behind the camera as he does in front of it? Warner Brothers certainly must have thought he’s got some level of skill as a screenwriter, considering that they scooped this up before Gosling even began shooting. He’s also following in the footsteps of some of the more successful directorial debuts by other actors and not acting in the film as well. If How to Catch a Monster is a winner in any way, it could very well be because he opted to focus all of his attention to filmmaking. Also worth noting is that the Academy does seem to be a bit more open-minded than usual, so an off-beat contender like this one wouldn’t be out of the question for serious consideration if the goods are there. That’ll be the first step though…proving that the goods are indeed there. Gosling’s certainly got a nice cast in place, including the likes of Christina Hendricks, Matt Smith, Saoirse Ronan, Eva Mendes, and Ben Mendelsohn. They alone make this worth seeing, regardless of anything else. Factor in Gosling as the writer/director and this is a must see for me, so any kind of awards consideration is a bonus in my book. He’s a prior acting nominee though, so if it’s up to snuff, they’ll give it a look, at the very least.
Why it might not:
Honestly, we have no clue if Gosling can direct. It’s possible that he could be in over his head. Now, I don’t think that’s the case, but there’s no way to know right now. More likely, this just isn’t Oscar type material. It seems like a decidedly indie concept, especially considering some of Gosling’s recent influences have come from Nicolas Winding Refn (and he’s apparently had some conversations with Gaspar Noe as well, who’s no one’s idea of an Oscar friendly filmmaker). First flicks by actors are usually cited when they’re more clearly awards bait than this one seems to be. Perhaps the visuals or one of the performances or even the writing will jump out at voters in a way that makes them unable to deny Gosling’s vision, but something tells me that if they do one day honor him as a filmmaker, it’ll be for a project that’s a bit more up their alley than this one is.
If everything breaks right, then How to Catch a Monster could be one of the offbeat titles that sometimes the Academy jives to. The big categories are obviously in play, though I’d say Best Picture and Best Director (for Gosling) are long shots. Best Original Screenplay (also for Gosling) is a better bet, while perhaps an acting nomination would be the best place to see this movie show up someplace. That could be Hendricks for Best Actress, Smith for Best Supporting Actor, or perhaps Ronan for Best Supporting Actress? On the technical front, I do have my eye on Best Cinematography, where he’s got a very talented DP in Benoît Debie behind the camera. Debie’s credits include Enter the Void, Irreversible, and Spring Breakers, so you know he’s more than capable of taking the odd ideas of his directors and turning them into beautiful images. Ultimately, I wouldn’t bank on this film getting any nominations, but if it’s good enough, it’ll definitely be under some kind of a consideration.
How to Catch a Monster will be distributed by Warner Brothers at some point in 2014.
Supporting Actor (Mendelsohn or Smith)
Supporting Actress (Mendes or Ronan)
Original Screenplay (Gosling)
–Thoughts? Discuss in the comments!