VOD Review: In The Canyons, Lindsay Is Not the Problem

James Deen practices the Heimlich maneuver on Lindsey Lohan.
James Deen practices the Heimlich maneuver on Lindsay Lohan.

I like Bret Easton Ellis. I have read all of his novels. I even wrote a book in Spanish heavily influenced by him (Sangre Dulce, check it out!) It took me this long to realize Ellis hasn’t evolved an iota since Less Than Zero. In fact, his characters have only gotten more unpleasant. Patrick Bateman seems better adjusted with every book.

In The Canyons, the dirt bag du jour is Christian (James Deen, Gangbanged 6), a trust fund brat with a power fetish. Even though he has an open relationship with Tara (Lindsay Lohan) and often invites guests to the bed they share, Christian goes ballistic when he finds out she may be cheating on him with a two-bit actor, Ryan.

Christian’s revenge first targets Ryan, but soon the destruction of his career doesn’t seem punishment enough.

The Canyons is directed by Paul Schrader, but there is nothing about it that is reminiscent of the director’s greatest hits (Affliction, Cat People). Even American Gigolo had more heart than this. Every single scene of The Canyons screams Bret Easton Ellis: The sterile home environments, the vacant streets, sex as unit of currency, it’s all there. As it always has been.

Lindsay Lohan has many issues (so many), but she can act. Her Tara is jaded, emotionally damaged, a believable human being. James Deen (a porn star plucked from the adult film industry by Ellis himself) is not nearly as good. His Christian is unsettling, but one-dimensional. Yet, it’s the acting that separate The Canyons from soft-core churn.

Two hedonists prairie dogs. Available in VOD and iTunes.

Author: Jorge Ignacio Castillo

Journalist, film critic, documentary filmmaker, and sometimes nice guy. Member of the Vancouver Film Critics Circle. Like horror flicks, long walks on the beach and candlelight dinners. Allergic to cats.