There’s no such thing as bad publicity, so they say. There was so much hype leading up to the film that it was deafening. Part of that was due to the film’s decision to go the route of crowdfunding to raise the budget. If you’d listened to the gossip, publicity and reviews for The Canyons you’d be forgiven for expecting an outlandish film of a Roman orgy or something thereabouts. But it’s not. For better or for worse, The Canyons is just another low-budget independent film with poor acting.
Written by Bret Easton Ellis (a man who knows a fair amount about the power of publicity) and directed by Paul Schrader (best known for writing scripts like Taxi Driver and Raging Bull), The Canyons teams the unadulterated mess that is Lindsay Lohan, fresh out of rehab, with porn star James Deen. He plays a young and wealthy L.A. type who’s dabbling in film production and she his emotionally distraught and vapid trophy girlfriend. He’s controlling and she’s having an affair that is causing her too much anxiety. Typical to Ellis’ work, the story follows a romantically involved cast that seem intermixed and interwoven in one another’s affairs.
Let’s just be fair, The Canyons is poorly acted. But it isn’t for a lack if trying. Deen is better than you might expect but still below par. Add to that the fact that Lohan and Deen have absolutely zero chemistry for a couple that are supposed to have been together for a year. The script isn’t terrible but the unexpected twist at the end feels like the cast and crew finally gave up on the film altogether. The Canyons is shallow and says little — and not in the ways we usually appreciate from Ellis.