The Gosling Factor

Some of you might be wondering why Ryan Gosling is worth an entire blog post. Or perhaps why a young man in his mid 20’s (and not a horny girl/woman between the ages of 15 - 40) is writing about Ryan Gosling at all.

The reason is this.

On reflection this year (arguably 2-3 years even) has been all about the Gosling Factor. His choice of script, director and in turn film has been impeccable with him being involved with some of my favourite films from the past few years. To add to that not only have they been great films in their own right, but a diversity of films from the star studded dramedy Crazy Stupid Love, to the disturbing but artistically beautiful Drive, to finally the taut political thriller The Ides of March.

All three of these films from the last 12 months have blown my mind and for very different reasons.

Crazy, Stupid, Love caught my attention from the word go with perhaps one of the best cut trailers for a romantic comedy. It had the perfect balance of drama and comedy, showing off the films loveable characters with a perfect blend of music (which included tracks from Goldfrapp and Muse) to compliment it. Check it out for yourself if you don’t believe me:

The film did much the same as the trailer, taking those moments of comedy gold and infusing them with what can only be described as heart. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it was a film that was quite cliché however you tend to be able to look past the convenient plot devices due to the fact that all the performances in the film are so pitch perfect. Especially Gosling who steps out of his dramatic comfort zone to play a character type that isn’t really something that he has done before. In fact all the actors step out of their comfort zone with Steve Carrell playing essentially the straight man to Goslings funny man. If you haven’t already checked it out do yourself a favour, it’s a beautiful little film with great characters, lots of laughs and a killer soundtrack.

The next film I mentioned in the line up above is Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive.

Now Winding Refn is notorious for making quite dark, violent films. I first came across his work a number of years back at the Melbourne International Film Festival which played all three of Refn’s famous Danish gangland trilogy Pusher. These films really grabbed me by the nuts as they were raw and visceral but not unnecessarily violent, with Refn having a real talent for knowing when was and wasn’t appropriate to show extreme acts of violence on screen. I also love these movies due to the fact that he made the first Pusher film when he was only 24. Anyway the thing I loved so much about Drive is that it literally keeps you on the edge of your seat for the entire film. Refn paces the film in such a way that the time waiting for something to happen is almost excruciating. It’s this sort of slow burn and Gosling’s under played performance of “The Driver” that make this film such a compelling watch. The cool, calm collectiveness of Gosling’s character make his extreme acts of violence even more shocking when they occur. However with that said I felt at the end of the film that I had watched something quite brutal but also quite beautiful. Everything he does in that film is for his love interest (Carey Mulligan) and her little boy. It’s awful what he does but kind of beautiful at the same time. Hard to explain so I suggest you get it out and make up your own mind as it seems to be one of those films that people either love or hate with a passion.

The last in the trilogy of wins for the Gosling Factor is the George Clooney helmed Ides of March which is based on the play Farragut North by Beau Willimon.

The thing I liked about this movie is that I went in with a low expectation, as I’d heard that it was a little bit disappointing. I was pleasantly surprised to sit through what I thought was a very well written, acted and crafted political thriller. Gosling is once again on top form, overshadowing some a great ensemble cast of actors which includes Pail Giamatti, Phillip Seymor Hoffman and of course Clooney himself. If there was one criticism that I had it was that the movie seemed to take forever to get going. Once it got going it rocketed along at a cracking pace however it took just a wee bit too long to get to that point. Would much rather have spaced out the ending to make for a pacier beginning and a slightly slower ending of the film. All in all though a really solid effort from all involved and once again another solid Gosling movie.

So there you go. That’s my spiel about Gosling. As a man who (little known to most people) started out in the Mickey Mouse club with Britney Spears, it’s really wonderful to see Gosling flourishing. He is really starting to come into his own as an actor and has (and hopefully continues to) made really solid career choices along the way.

You’re amazing big guy – keep making solid choice and I’ll keep watching your movies.

Colla out.