Type to search

Eleanor Ringel Cater

Ryan Gosling shows he can “Drive” a movie as an actor

By Eleanor Ringel Cater

“Drive” made me car sick.

The sort of super-sleek cheese that Michael Mann used to do in his sleep, it profits — immensely — from Ryan Gosling’s iconic rendering of an iconic role: the strong, silent loner who just happens to be better than anyone else in the entire world at one thing.

Gosling can drive.

A movie stuntman who moonlights as as a getaway-driver-for-hire, he’s a stone-cold hero for a stone-dead post-9/11 world.

Though, truth be told, this is actually the sort of thing that flooded theatres in the early ‘70s. Recessive, monosyllabic heroes who, nonetheless, were bursting with reserves of pent-up sensitivity.

All they needed was a girl who could….well, shut up, give ‘em some sex appeal and not take up too much screen time or emotion. Here, ‘The Girl’ is played by Carey Mulligan (“An Education”), an excellent actress doing her damned-est to fill out an empty role.

Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman make welcome extended cameo appearances as various thugs. Especially Brooks who uses his typically comic geekiness to create a gangster who turns deadly when you least expect it.

But the burden of the picture falls on Gosling who continues to take on a wide array of roles. In many ways, he harkens back to the heyday of Robert De Niro or even Dustin Hoffman, when the sheer pleasure of watching them work transcended whatever they were working in.

Gosling’s commitment is total; his talent unplumbed. Edward Norton may want to watch his back.

Eleanor Ringel

Eleanor Ringel, Movie Critic, was the film critic for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for almost 30 years. She was nominated multiple times for a Pulitzer Prize. She won the Best of Cox Critic, IMAGE Film & Video and Women In Film awards. An Atlanta native, she graduated from Westminster and Brown University. She was the critic on WXIA’s Noonday, a member of Entertainment Weekly's Critics Grid and wrote TV Guide’s movie/DVD. She is member of the National Society of Film Critics and currently talks about movies on WMLB and writes the Time Out column for the Atlanta Business Chronicle.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.