Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday Similar Standards: Ryan Gosling

Welcome to a new semi-regular weekly feature here at Movies with Abe. On those weeks where reviews are sparse, I’ll be taking a look at an actor or actress whose body of work boasts many roles that may not be as diverse as those taken on by other actors or actresses. This is hardly a judgment on their abilities; rather an analysis of the kind of parts they play so well.

Ryan Gosling

This actor is easily one of the best young performers currently working, and therefore saying that he tends to play the same kind of role is so much an example of analysis rather than judgment. In a little over ten years, Gosling has turned in some terrific performances, but usually they don’t make him very likeable or social. Many find him irresistibly attractive particularly because of his loner attitude.

The Believer (2001): Gosling’s first major role saw him as an angry neo-Nazi who was actually Jewish, determined to visit his frustration on the people he blamed for it.

The United States of Leland (2004): This little-known but excellent drama features Gosling as a quiet young man sent to prison for murdering a mentally challenged teenager.

Stay (2005): This mind-bending movie gave Gosling a bad haircut as a disturbed patient and sent him on a very lonely trip towards losing his grip on reality.

Half Nelson (2006): The movie that has given Gosling his lone Oscar nomination cast him as a kindly teacher struggling with drug addiction.

Fracture (2007): This decent thriller saw Gosling as an up-and-coming, highly motivated lawyer distracted and unwound by one particular case.

Lars and the Real Girl (2007): Gosling got delusional as a kind soul with an odd attachment to a sex doll that he thought was his girlfriend.

All Good Things (2010): Gosling was dark and frightening as a mentally unstable heir with serious anger issues.

Blue Valentine (2010): Gosling starred with last week’s featured performer from this series, Michelle Williams, as an initially seductive but ultimately vicious man.

The Ides of March (2011): Gosling had better social skills than usual as a campaign staffer but still only had a mind for himself and his career.

Drive (2011): Gosling was soft-spoken and monumentally cool as a loner stunt car driver who moonlighted as a getaway driver.

Anything different?

Yes indeed! Gosling has caused girls to swoon over him because of his personality twice, once in romantic drama, in The Notebook (2004), and then last year as a smooth talker in Crazy Stupid Love (2011).

What’s next?

Three crime thrillers – “Gangster Squad,” “Only God Forgives,” and “The Place Beyond the Pines.”

The verdict?

Gosling is superb at making antisocial characters utterly fascinating, and though he’s also proven to be skilled at comedy, he takes on challenging roles because he’s so adept at diving into unlikeable characters and giving them redeeming, or at least immensely watchable, qualities.

1 comment:

Sadie Heldberg said...

“Stay” is one of my favorite movies thanks to the “mind job” my brain has to unscramble at the end. The first time I saw the film I was transfixed, therefore unaware of the impending final closure. I do remember the tears streaming down my face as I sat in awe of what seemed rational, but unfair. I have a passion for movies, which helps me on my frequent business trips for Dish. I use my spare time to watch and write for my blog. Because of this hobby, I subscribe to Blockbuster @Home, which gives me all the research materials I need. I can relax, and watch the movie I plan on writing about. I’m excited that our topic of discussion this week will be the movie “Stay”, as I know it will be a thrilling topic for all.