Ryan Gosling films
The Place Beyond the Pines 2012
Or: The Place Beyond SelfParody. Gosling descends into mumbling method madness as a tattooed fairground stunt rider reconnecting with an old flame (played by his real-life wife, Eva Mendes). There is just too much self-awareness here: he is weirdly unable to suggest the character’s dopiness without winking at the audience.
La La Land 2016
This musical was Gosling’s third film with Emma Stone, but delivers one anticlimax after another: the opening traffic-jam showstopper is like a poor man’s Fame. But Gosling, who plays a pig-headed pianist earning a crust playing easy-listening standards, gets one of the highlights to himself, casually singing the tentative City of Stars as he strolls along a pier at night.
Half Nelson 2006 Think of this as Drugged Poets Society: as a crackaddicted teacher, whether he is grandstanding in class or slipping into inaccessible corners of his own mind, Gosling gives a frazzled but nuanced performance. His attempts to save a pupil (Shareeka Epps) from a local dealer provide the core of the drama, but the film is alive with curious, devastating details.
“What do you do?” someone asks. “I drive,” comes Gosling’s zen reply. In his signature role, as a nameless stuntman-cumgetaway-driver, he gets a long way on his mute charisma – those features so unlikely for a male actionhero action hero – and looking good in a snazzy silver jacket. But the film is all flashy bodywork and no gas in the tank.
Eye- catching early psycho-work from Gosling and Michael Pitt as young students conspiring to commit the perfect murder. Sandra Bullock is on their tail in this partial retread of the Leopold and Loeb case that also inspired Rope, Compulsion and Swoon.
Gosling and Michelle Williams lived together while preparing to play these lovers on the rocks. Derek Cianfrance’s fragmentary structure allows them to inhabit the optimism of their salad days as emphatically as the despair that later overwhelms them. It’s as pleasurable watching them fall in love as it is excruciating to see them fall apart.
This modernday Hamlet, set among US expats in Bangkok, re-teamed Gosling with director Nicolas Winding Refn. The actor plays an impotent would-be avenger, unable to kill his brother’s murderer. Gosling’s performance is an exercise in studied blankness: you cannot tell if he’s acting or under anaesthetic.
The Nice Guys
Gosling and Russell Crowe had both played shaven-headed fascists early in their careers, but by the time they teamed up in Shane Black’s comic thriller, they couldn’t have been more different. Gosling was now delicate and goofy, Crowe an ungainly lump; it’s this mismatch that lends the film its spark.
Blade Runner 2049
Gosling’s haunted, sorrowful face is a good fit for this moody sequel. He also has some pleasing chemistry with his blade-running predecessor, Harrison Ford, with whom he trades pointless punches before Ford finally says: “We could keep at this or we could get a drink.” The men duly drop their fists and repair to the bar. Would that more movie dust-ups ended that way.
The Believer 2001
A calling- card role that drew a line between Gosling’s Mickey Mouse Club past and his adult future. Nothing could have done the job better than this intense psychological thriller based on the real case of a Jewish neo-Nazi. It displayed early, incontrovertible evidence of the Gosling USP: an ability to hold a character’s contradictions and conflicts in view at all times.