Sunday, 2 October 2011
Crazy, stupid, driving..
100 Minutes. Starring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks, Bryan Cranston, Oscar Isaac, Christina Hendricks & Ron Perlman. Director: Nicolas Winding Refn. Screenplay: Hossein Amini
Ryan Gosling is the man. It's rare that a top actor has two, big hits in one year, but one week? Gosling is the latest Pitt/DiCaprio/Hartnett/Franco/Reynolds pretty boy, ladies favourite actor to make good on a respected career that even the guys and critics can appreciate. This week he's already bringing the laughs and smiles with Steve Carrell in the hit, thinking man's warm romantic comedy 'Crazy, Stupid Love' and now with his foot on the success accelerator he keeps things going with 'Drive' as he travels from the mainstream to the underground. Also beware 'The Ides Of March' in October as Gosling hops on the latest Clooney campaign trail in what looks to be another curious classic from George.
Right now Ryan-currently one of the most hard-working actors in Hollywood goes full throttle in a classic America piece that's from it's 80's pink, 'Cocktail' style credits and sensational soundtrack sparks off nostalgia and love for classic American muscle automobiles. Much like Tarantino's 'Death Proof' just with more brains...and we're not just talking about the ones splattered on the windshield. Gosling shows he can act up with the best as his seldom-speaking role shows he can do more in few words then most do in monologues. Channelling his inner Steve McQueen (complete with cool vintage jacket and grandad t-shirts), Gosling rides through this movie with California cool, shooting straight like a 'Bullitt' and showing that at 30 he's the leading man of the next wave in this generations young acting pool. Gosling easy-going nature in this movie is a laid back cool that doesn't try too hard. His character even make the point of not style/social smoking like most cool characters in dark movies and this film lights up and is all the blazing-hot better for it.
From the 'Collateral' esque skyline shots, this ride around the futuristic looking L.A. has all the trappings of classic cinema. One of the most impressive scenes in this slick and stylish shot picture is when our getaway driver opens this movie by evading the police in a cool, clinical and calculated drive with the aid of a police radio and a Clipper basketball game in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter (with no timeout's left). This makes for the perfectly timed escape and master plan. This wheelman shows he is a real, genuine talent, laid-back, but straight forward and precise in his work.
Between working as a Hollywood stuntman and moonlighting on the crime ride Gosling meets incredible young actress Carey Mulligan and her cute son. Needless to say he falls for them (who wouldn't?), but things take a turn for the worse when her husband comes out of prison and doesn't have much choice in the matter of avoiding the straight and narrow. This is were Gosling is drawn in and were things get leather glove gripping tense (a nice directing technique) real messy...I mean really messy.
Now this movie has it's heart in the right place but the trouble is it has the guts to be more gory then we want it to be. Yes the action scenes are great, but some of the gratuity cheapens the genuine intentions of this thriller who's lead is more in the 'protector' mode than the vengeful one out for blood. Still if you look away enough you can see that this is still a good movie that falls in love with the romanticism of cinema more than most big budget Hollywood flicks. This Los Angeles times piece broadens it's horizons with great performances (especially from 'Malcolm In The Middle' and 'Breaking Bads' Bryan Cranston) and cinematography. When you reach your destination this may not be the ride of your life but it's still a damn good journey. TIM DAVID HARVEY.