Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Year of Gosling Redux

Back in July, I posted about The Year of Gosling where I talked about Ryan Gosling's sudden ubiquity appearing in four films (including the late 2010 release Blue Valentine) this year. At the end of that post, I said that I would be "seeing each and every one of his films on opening weekend" and that's exactly what I ended up doing. And since I'm pretty sure Gosling doesn't have any more movies coming out this year (right?), it's as good a time as any to take stock on his films.

First, Crazy, Stupid, Love, though hardly flawless, is a worthy and refreshing addition to the tired rom-com genre. The film's focus is Cal Weaver played by Steve Carell who needs a life makeover after his divorce. Enter the impeccably-dressed man-slut that is Jacob Palmer played by the sexy Gosling (redundant) who befriends and helps Cal break out of his shell. The chemistry between the two made the movie work as well as their respective chemistry with their lady counterparts played by Julianne Moore and Emma Stone. Frankly I wished the film had given Gosling and Stone more screen-time and less time spent on the awkward teenage subplot that was the big blemish of the movie for me. The end, mostly the graduation sequence, felt a bit contrived. Though I did love the shock "twist" which we find out in that backyard scene.

While charming and a little goofy in that first film, Gosling channels his much darker side in Drive, a neo-noir crime heist drama. Gosling plays the nameless and laconic Driver who makes his living legally in a garage and some occasional stunt work and illegally as a getaway driver. He becomes involve with his pretty neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her young son and then gets entangled in a mess of violence when Irene's husband (Oscar Isaac) gets into trouble. The great camera work by Nicolas Winding Refn, the arresting synth-pop score, and the singular performance from Gosling makes this movie a must-see even if the story and the emotional pull was lacking a bit. The elevator scene alone is worth a look, but rest assured that the film will stick with you for awhile afterwards.

Finally, Gosling gets to be charming and intense in Ides of March where he plays Stephen Meyers, a young hotshot of a campaign manager for a governor (played by George Clooney) trying to win the Democratic nomination for presidency. The film's main focus is on the slow degradation of Meyers' idealism in the face of the inherent corruption and cynicism of politics. Topical to be sure, but gripping throughout in no small part due to its talent-stacked ensemble which also includes Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, and Paul Giamatti. With that said, Gosling really impressed carrying the weight of the film on his shoulders. If there's a film he's done this year that could get Oscar traction, it's probably this one.

Charming, Intense, Love in Ides of March

And speaking of Oscars, he certainly deserves to get one for his performance in Drive or in Ides of March, but when do awards or even nominations go to people who deserved it? Case in fact, he should've been a shoe-in last year for Blue Valentine and look at how that turned out. Add to that the very strong year for lead actor performances, his relative youth, and the fact that fans of his probably can't agree on which performance of his to nominate and it's looking more and more like an uphill climb. At the very least, he's racking up goodwill points in the industry working with many good and respective individuals. As long as he keeps picking quality projects, the awards will be inevitable. Though it'd certainly be a great capper to "The Year of Gosling" if he gets his due this year.

Crazy, Stupid, Love: B
Drive: B+
Ides of March: B+/A-
Ryan Gosling: A+

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for reading. Feel free to drop me a line. Instead of being Anonymous though, pick a name. Any name would do. Thanks again!