In many ways I can’t believe I’m writing this blog but I’ve been impressed by Ryan Gosling of late, mostly after watching Half Nelson and Drive. Both these independent films require him to act a little but mainly to pout and for that, it works.
I got introduced to the guy when Tam made me (trust me I wasnt looking forward to this) watch The Notebook, the quintessential chick flick with a story of eternal love made, presumed lost through mis-communication and then rediscovered. While the story is schmaltzy, predictable drivel, I have to admit its endearing it in a way. It touched a nerve.
After that ‘experience,’ a film made in 2004, I assumed his career took the predictable early death and expected to see him on TV anytime soon. But for unexplained reasons, Gosling has been all over the place of late. I mentioned Drive in a previous post, mostly for the music but his role in Half Nelson, an excellent small independent film from 2006 highlights a strength also noted in Drive; his dead-pan face!
Gosling is best when he doesn’t say very much, when he lets the mood, music and scene take over. I’m not saying he’s a bad actor, I don’t think he is but in both films, playing the Man With No Name character suits him. His passive face actually adds to the ambiguity and tension. It helps that recently I’ve watched the Dollar Trilogy and Yojimbo, the original man (samurai) with no name.
When he actually starts active acting in The Ides of March, he somewhat fails or becomes only passable. You begin to notice he might just be a pretty boy and deserving of a place on the new OC or where ever. Ryan should stick to what he’s good at; passively killing people or looking unhappy for a variety of reasons. He does it so much better than Seagal. Or looking like he’s knackered or stoned and unable to function to the level of emotion. The ability to keep your head while all others lose theirs….now that’s a skill.