Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ryan Gosling adapts as the Driver (for the L.A. Mob)

Ryan Gosling, a 30 year old Canadian actor, usually comes across as a gentle person, but in “Drive” he can adjust ferocity according to the circumstances.

Gosling plays “Driver”, a Hollywood stunt performer who makes most of his living as a “driver” for the local mob in LA.  After meeting another “reformed” mobster’s wife (Carey Mulligan), he is hired for a pawn shop heist that goes wrong. Pretty soon, there’s a contract out on him.

So the character adapts, able to explode into slashing violence himself, until there is a final “High Noon” confrontation with a local boss (Albert Brooks, in an atypical role).  He’s told he can “protect” the woman if he gives up his own future, not a very good deal for an individualist. So he does find a way out.

About 40 minutes into the film, there is a clue as to the transformation of Driver's personality, when he says, "Shut your mouth" to a potential accomplice.  Coming from Gosling, it sounds jarring. 

The film is directed by Danish Nicolas Winding Refn, and comes from a familiar production company, OddLot, and a novel distributor, Film District, which has a great animated trademark intro itself of showing LA.  This is the sort of film you expect to see from Lionsgate or Summit.  Again, these days, if you want to make an “independent” film, you need the money for A-list directors and cast.

Here is the official site. “There are no clean getaways.”

I saw this at the Regal Ballston in Arlington late Sunday afternoon, digital projection, large auditorium, small but enthusiastic audience. 

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