‘The Canyons’ is an ultra-low budget erotic thriller about a group of people in Los Angeles whose lives took a left turn when recent lies and past secrets came crashing down their already troubled existence.
Christian is a trust fund guy who’s producing a movie to convince his ‘asshole’ father that he’s doing something worthwhile with his life. Tara is her girlfriend who used to be an actress but quitted because getting off with rich dudes is more convenient. Ryan is a struggling model-actor who is cast in Christian’s movie. These are the three major characters of ‘The Canyons.’ How is one connected to the other is something for you to find out.
I have preferences which I would’ve wanted to be incorporated in the movie, but I think the imperfections and the occasional awfulness are there to prove the point that Ellis and Schrader want the viewers to see. As what the former tweeted (which I believe is now deleted), it’s not about the plot and the characters. It’s about the mood and the underlying metaphor that makes a certain kind of movie or in this case, ‘The Canyons’, remarkable. The movie does not aim to be loved nor does it want to give any kind of pleasure to average moviegoers or even the ones who have a wider and varied taste in cinema. What it wants to do is become a product that will remind us that movies of the tackiest quality are getting released for cash-grabs and that it’s destroying the essence of why movies are being watched and made. It’s like an infomercial from serious filmmakers out there who would like to appeal to studio honchos to stop tolerating the idiocy of the masses and start producing stuff that has potential to thwart the decaying intellectual capacity of mainstream cinema.
If you are planning to see ‘The Canyons,’ I suggest that you do some research first. To say the least, this is not your ordinary film. This is not even a movie to look for some weird, depressing or artsy stuff. However, if you want to be enlightened and see a rare if not a new kind of work that is free from any form of pandering, I hope you can get through it with an open mind.