Due to popular demand...
Discuss his movies here.
I recently watched Stay and it was pretty cool. And I've watched Drive about 50 times which prompted me to read the Sallis novels which I'm glad I did. Wouldn't he just make the perfect Patrick Bateman?
He's best when he plays loner characters, like his roles in Drive or Lars and the Real Girl.
I'm not a fan of him as a romantic lead so much, or when he's in a role of "typical hot guy who gets all the ladiessssss". I've heard good things about him in Crazy, Stupid, Love, but I think watching that movie would make me like him less.
Hot bods don't impress me all that much.
Crazy, Stupid, Love is the best movie ever. Okay. Not that far. But it is very good and funny. And you should watch it.
You didn't? You did Dakota, you Faerie.
So, no one has seen Half Nelson?
That is his best work.
Half Nelson was awesome.
Lars and the Real Girl was great, because they could have taken it in all the wrong directions.
Stay was cool too. I am interested to see what he has coming up. He is working a lot now.
Now, if I was a girl, I am not saying I am not, but if I were, this guy always gets my imaginary vagina frothing:
I'm watching "All Good Things" right now. The best part is Gosling in a dress.
I fell in love with Ryan after watching The Believer. It was the best movie I'd ever seen. (I was ten.)
Gosling in a dress? That would make him somewhat interesting I suppose. Mildly intrigued. Going through a Korean crime drama phase right now as far as movies go.
Stacy, I'm guessing you've seen Old Boy than?
who hasn't seen Oldboy? lol~
Gosling is one of the best actors working in Hollywood today. He was brilliant in Blue Valentine opposite Michelle Williams and Half Nelson is probably his single best performance. He even made Drive watchable, which had to be a challenge considering how poorly those characters were written. (I have strong opinions about Drive and Refn as a director, bordering on a complex. It's complicated).
Just a great actor who puts in a ton of work in any role he's given.
Drive was a surrealish movie, which reminded me of the Dollars Trilogy. Gosling managed to perform while barely saying a word. He reminds me of a young Marlon Brando, his persona in certain films.
I loved Drive. Even more than the book.
The acting and directing was spot-on. But I have a thing for the whole cast of the movie.
I don't believe the characters were poorly written. Could have been a little more 3 dimensional but I had no complaints of it.
I remember watching Drive with my husband the first time, and he was all, "Man, he's good at everything: driving, fighting, killing, sexy interrogation..."
I've been saving up to buy his driving gloves. And that Levi jacket. He's totally bad ass.
:::sigh::: Drive was directed as if aliens came down, spent a year investigating what we consider good movies and tried to make "the ultimate film". The shot selection is near perfect, the score is very "GTA: Vice City", he creates great tension out of stillness, etc. All the hallmarks of a great movie are there. The only thing it's missing is a human element, something that allows us to connect with the characters in an emotional way. This is partly due to poor screenwriting but mostly due to poor actor direction. If you've seen Refn other films, Bronson and Valhalla Rising, it's the same story. Visually lovely but lacking any depth of feeling or emotional bravery by the director. To me, Drive is a chocolate Easter bunny of a movie. Looks all nice and pretty on the outside, but when you bite into it, it's disappointingly hollow.
That said, Gosling was indeed great in it. If it weren't for him going above and beyond in developing his character, it would have ben unwatchable.
My much maligned RT review of Drive if you're interested.
When I watched Drive, I felt like I was in the world of some kind of surreal video game, watching everything from the POV of the Driver. I think the movie is meant to feel that way. There isn't supposed to be any kinid of emotional attachment or third dimension to the characters. In a way, I think it was an homage to the late 70s Chuck Norris films and maybe even a couple of Steve McQueen films as well.
I personally loved the way the soundtrack had that plastic trebly sound of those same late 70s action thrillers. I mean how incongruent but awesome was the music that played during the elevator scene?
Finally, Gosling was one of the very few actors that could've pulled that character off.
I'll read your review soon, when I can.
The thing about Bronson, which can probably be said about Drive is that no one should be able to connect with Bronson's character. The same argument could be applied to American Psycho. Which are all great movies with great characters I think.
I'm not a screen writer but I couldn't have in my mind how to make Charles Bronson a more human character. In another sense, I don't think we should be able to connect with these characters. Admire them perhaps but I think they were constructed for a specific purpose. The same with the nameless man from the Dollars Trilogy. Or most Clint Eastwood characters for that matter.
I wanna make out with Imogen Poots.
I've had a crush on her since 28 Weeks Later.
The whole appeal to these characters is that they aren't human, they're nothing like you see in real life so it's nothing a normal person can connect to. That lack of the human element is what makes the character intersting. Personally if Charles Bronson had a big heart or loved puppies or some shit I wouldn't give half a fuck because that would just play down his image of this indestructable beast of a man who lives for no other reason than to fight. Same as in Drive, which I thought the romance in that movie was excently done, If we saw ryan breaking down in a teary confession of his love instead of giving her that cold stare above a playful smile he wouldn't be the same character. He would be something other than the man that just drives. His movies have one note characters, it's not a flaw.
Actually I'd like to have a movie poster of Bronson playing with ten puppies.
Maybe I should have been more clear, but a character doesn't have to have a soft side. They just have to have positive motivations, even when being utterly evil. Bronson in Death Wish is a good example. He wasn't just a bad ass killing people for no reason. He was avenging the brutal rape and murder of his wife. Eastwood in The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, which is a Top 10 favorite movie of mine, is a perfect example of solid character writing. We as the audience get very subtle hints to his human side. The wry smile he gives Tuco as he's about the hung, the moment he spend with the dying soldier before the main showdown, the respect he shows Angel Eyes, even as he's competing with him for the treasure. These are all subtle hints to the lead characters human side. While watching it we may not notice it, but our brain does and that's why we connect with these characters.
Actors also cannot play purely evil characters. It's a physical impossibility and the minute someone tries, the performance falls flat. Even the most sadistic, evil, horrible character has to have a positive motivation for his or her actions. Actors have to dig deep and find out why the character is evil. If they just play evil, it comes off like a Dudley Doo-right caricature, tying women to train tracks while twirling a tiny mustache. Every great villain has this work done on the back end, which is why we love them as villains. Gosling did this work on his own, which is why his character was interesting. Tom Hardy as Bronson, on the other hand, falls flat because he doesn't have any other side. There's no depth to his character. Now, it can be enjoyable on a video gamey, bloodlust type of escapism, but even Kratos from God of War has a reason for his brutality.
And as far as writing the human side, there are plenty of ways to do so, as I highlighted in The Man With No Name. But even if you don't write it in, the director and actor have to find that center, than human piece that we can naturally latch onto. If they don't, the performance may be "cool" and "stylish" or even "gritty" but it won't be memorable and we certainly won't feel anything. We may be intrigued, entertained or even titillated, but we won't feel. And in my opinion, making us feel is when art is at it's absolute best.
Sorry for the rant...I just love film and this discussion falls right in my wheelhouse. Sorry if I went on a tear here.
Perhaps it's just opinion but the reason I liked Bronson and valhalla rising is because it was so far away from humanity. I couldn't find anything that made them seem human and thats what stuck out to me. They just were what they were. As jack said it's like american psycho, Bateman only has one side to him, the blood thirsty yuppie. And he has no positive motive for what he does. We like him simply because he is crazy. I just think the whole appeal to these characters is that there is nothing human about them, no redeeming qaulities, no reason for doing what they do except that was how they were born and they're true to their nature.
Nicholas might not have the most meaningful movies, they might be shallow and one note, but how does that make them any less artful? Does soemthing have to make a point to be art? Does it really have to mean anything? His movies do make me feel things, they inspire me. Like when bronson is standing naked in the cage waiting on the cops to come in and fight, everything about that scene moved me. Did it make me think of something i've never thought before or give me a new view, no. But when he started swinging with that look on his face I felt alive, I felt like I was right there with him and I almost felt that sense of beauty that i'm sure bronson see's in violence.
Different things make different people feel. Where you might be moved by Chow yun fat destroying his family to assert his dominance and keep his country under control in Curse of the golden flower I'm moved by the dead eyes of ryan gosling in drive. I understand your point though and I realize some people have to connect with a character to be emotionally invested but what draws me in is the intensity of the acting, how much they draw you in and make you feel a part of the movie, not how human they are or how well I can understand their motives.
@ jacks, Oldboy, The Man from Nowhere, Chaser, I saw the Devil and Mother, love those Koreans, they have no problem killing off the leads :-)
Ah, but when it comes to Bronson, Valhalla Rising and Bateman in American Psycho they weren't born that way. Nobody comes out of the womb evil incarnate. All that behavior is learned through experience. Now, again, I don't need to know every antihero's backstory, nor do I need an overblown "finding their humanity" setup to connect with their characters. But the actor has to know all that in order to convey that emotion. And again, bringing this conversation back on topic, I thought Gosling did a fine job in Drive. He was easily the best part of the movie. You connect with his "dead eyes" because there's no much work Gosling is doing behind the scenes to make you care. He does this, because he's a brilliant actor, one of the best in Hollywood. My argument is that he had no help from his director because the rest of the cast just didn't have the same impact.
As for the art discussion, I'll concede that point. Art, in my opinion, is anything that is created to evoke an emotional response and is completely subjective to the person viewing it. If my comments made it sound like Drive is "les arty" than another film, I apologize. Wasn't my intention. When you looked at Bronson staring down a gang of police with nothing but malice in his face, if you felt alive by that than that's awesome! I'll never deride you for enjoying something. In my opinion, that scene didn't move me because I didn't care about the character in the first place. Again, we may just have different tastes and bring completely different personalities to the filmgoing experience.
It's hard to have an unbiased discussion about film, especially if you're like me and have gotten sick of movies trying to have soemthing to say instead of trying to be a good movie. Art means something different to us all.
@stacy- Have you watched the entire vengeance trilogy? Oldboy is easily the best of them but the other two are still worth watching. Great movies you listed by the way.
Nope just Oldboy, plan on watching the other two, should be writing though lol
I just want to see Imogen Poots naked.
This is art: NSFW
Chester, we share the same goals.
Stacey, I've hear Ichi The Killer was a weird one.
Now I know this is a Ryan Gosling thread but I have to say I also love Joseph Gordon-Levitt. You all go watch Hecher. It may be his best role yet.
Here is his "nut" speech.
That was amazing. Brick was a cool movie too.
Yeah, JGL is pretty awesome too.
so ths is the Ryan Gosling/Joseph Gordon-Levitt thread? niiiiiiiiice.
"Even the most sadistic, evil, horrible character has to have a positive motivation for his or her actions."
- what about Javier Bardem in the adapatatin of No Country for Old Men'? his performance was nuanced but there was no explanation for 'the way he was' and that made it fantastic. the idea of no layers or no explanation is ofen the scariest one. let's go SUPER obvious and say the Joker in Batman. he's the Id.
a character like Lecter, liked the book Hannibal (and even Hannibal Rising) because i think his layers were obviously there, there were definite things that led to hs becoming - but sometimes 'because i wanted to. because i like it,' or 'how should i know, and why should care?' are the scariest and most effective approaches to villians.
sometimes the lost-ness (great word, right?) and lack of explanation, f done JUST PERFECTLY, create the empathy of identification - because most people really don't know why they do what they do, what the factors are that led to their decision in any given in any presented situation.
now back to your regualrly scheduled programming:
@manda: You're right. We as the audience do not need to know anybody's backstory...but THEY do. An actor can't play evil unless they know how they got there. The source of that has to be rooted in a positive emotion. f they don't know, they come off nefarious and we, as the audience, fail to connect. And now to address each baddie you mentioned:
Bardem in No Country: His motivation was pretty clear, to me. He was following his own set of personal morals in his pursuit of the money. Throughout the film, he always felt he was in the right. This is crucial and is underlying motive for every well written villain from Shakespeare to Nolan. Bardem's characters felt fully justified in killing each and every person. He had a goal, the person was in his way,he had to eliminate that person to proceed. It's simple logic and his belief in this logic is what makes him interesting and nuanced.
Joker in Batman: While I think Ledger's performance was overrated, this is another good example. The Joker follows his own idea of morality. He believes himself as an agent of chaos, chaos that, in his mind, is needed and necessary. He doesn't walk around causing mayhem because he feels like it. He does so to shake up a sleeping society, to illustrate a point. A very well written villain.
Hannibal Lecter: Lecter's motivation is the belief in his own brilliance. It's been awhile since I've seen Silence, so my recollection is fuzzy, but his dance with Jodie Foster is a game. It's a respect for the intelligence of Agent Starling and the desire to find an intellectual evil. The bits about, "I just wanted to" isn't the core of the character. The core is this desire to test the limits of the world and see if anybody is at his equal to match wits.
Occasionally, purely evil characters work in film, but that's usually because the focus isn't on that character. 80's slasher flicks like Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street are good examples. The first Friday the 13th is a brilliant film, but not because Jason Vorhees is interesting. Other than being an unstoppable killing machine, he's not interesting at all. The movie is great thanks to mood, atmosphere and everything else that makes great film. It's a ton of fun and alot of times that's enough. However, in most villains, you need something to latch onto and senseless killing doesn't work if the actor / actress playing the villain doesn't know why there are on the rampage. We don't need to know as an audience, but they do as an actor.
Back to Gosling in Drive, he did that work which is why he was so good but there was nothing in the script or direction that made me think it was in the story.
"You're right. We as the audience do not need to know anybody's backstory...but THEY do."
^ that was part of my point. and i didn't group lecter in with the others - he's the onion to illustrate the difference.
room for specualtion that there's motivation and what it might be, is that what you're saying? that's what's needed to identify? not specifically the motivation "my name is Inigo Montoya. you killed my brother." that's what 'm saying isn't necessary for a good villian.
villians that don't know themselves are scary - i'm not sure how to interpret what you're saying. let's just use a non-movie example with this 'positive motivation' example. say, an arsonist. 'fire is beautiful' - is that enough? not 'my mom used to burn me with cigarettes and i focused on the beauty of the blue in the matchflame..." etc and so on.