Friday, 13 September 2013

Give Ryan Gosling Some Lines, Please.

Ryan Gosling’s popularity has exploded ever since the 2004‘s lovey-dubey/schlock-fest The Notebook, yet one thing has become evidently clear; he’s a man of few words. While some may demote his career and popularity to his good looks, I think Gosling is a genuinely talented actor with “good looks”. But after the likes of Drive, The Place Beyond The Pines and Only God Forgives his performances have been summarised by his blank stares and frustrating muteness. I understand that the writers/ directors intend this as an artistic portrayal of character development, but I’m not seeing it 100%. Sure, if you read into the film as an entirety; the supporting characters, story and dialogue (what little there is), you could conclude on the rather stale constructions of his various characters. But a script goes a long way to bring personality and emotional attachment to the individual. 

The Ides of March, Half Nelson, Lars and the Real Girl and Blue Valentine demonstrate that Gosling understands and is fully capable of giving a decent performance. Lars is a thought provoking film that remains distinctly innocent and endearing even with its rather strange nature. Here he plays a socially awkward yet charming man who develops a romantic relationship with a sex doll. His delicate psychology lead to the local community  accepting “her”, in turn building their own relationships with her. As creepy as that sounds, Gosling’s character is central to the film’s success. In hindsight, his performance is in stark contrast to his recent form and roles. Playing a socially inept individual, he really drives the fragile and timid nature of his character home. The film actually spends a lot of emphasis and time on Lar’s development as an individual within the context of his relationship both with the doll named Bianca, his family and the locals. The struggles of his past, especially with his father, also are reflected in Gosling’s strong performance.  He got nominated for a Golden Globe and for a Screen Actors Guild Award for his role as Lars, yet it’s slightly disheartened to hear that hardly anyone has seen the film. 

In contrast Only God Forgives, Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest film, stars Gosling as a Thai boxing coach/ drug dealer caught in the middle of his mother’s violent search for justice. Suffering from being more “style over substance”, Gosling’s role in the film is just frustrating. While Drive teated on the edge between tedium and understanding with the long pauses and awkward stares, the film managed to still created an interesting side to “The Driver”. Only God Forgives on the other hand, fails to do anything remotely engaging as a whole. The basic sense of empathy is there for his situation, but there’s little to talk about in regards to his performance. With the lack of any real dialogue in the film’s first 15 minutes how are we supposed to connect to his character? 

Ryan Gosling’s popularity has stemmed from his confidence on screen and undoubtably his good looks. But seeing him in a more “independent circle”, has shown that he is a capable performer. While he is planning a hiatus from acting to get behind the camera, I still believe he has the capacity to become something more than a attractive dude with a blank stare. So I plead to the film industry, give Mr Gosling some more lines. I don’t even mind if he hasn’t got a shirt on, as long as he’s saying something. 

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