Posts Tagged ‘ Ryan Gosling ’

BLADERUNNER 2049

Bladerunner 2049

The eagerly anticipated- or over-hyped depending on your view of the original- sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic Bladerunner like its predecessor is ambiguous in its intentions; leaving more questions unanswered than answered. This time Denis Villeneuve is at the helm although Scott’s spectral presence is in every nuanced frame and deliberately so as familiarity with the original is essential in understanding the continuing narrative of Bladerunner 2049.
Ryan Gosling’s Officer K aka Joe fills much the same terrain as Harrison Ford’s Deckard in the original; an LAPD sleuth who hunts down replicants and ultimately ‘retires’ them in a dystopian near future. Convincingly played in his usual doe-eyed inscrutable way Gosling is ably supported in his task by Robin Wright, Jared Leto and of course Ford himself who returns as Deckard giving a great performance. Also of note is Ana de Armas as K’s holographic lover who absorbs the persona in line with his current moods and desires; one minute caring and nurturing supporter the next a sultry vamp.
The characters would be nothing without the sets and cinematography though and both are visually stunning throughout. Capturing the essence of the original but not relying on either homage or impersonation; sun-drenched vast deserts, rain-soaked streets and neon skyways all compete for attention and mirror the unfolding drama.
It is the music however which is the film’s true star, swelling, soothing,building and malingering as suits the scene. It is the music which ultimately prevents the film from dragging- at 2 hours 45 minutes it could be termed overly long for some used to more action filled blockbusters.
As for the plot I am not going to reveal anything in the way of spoilers- every sequence of events in this film offers up unnecessary clues- but suffice to say it is as intriguing, complex, perplexing and intuitive as its predecessor.
Ultimately the film as a whole is a triumph. For once the hype was(almost) justified and fans of the original who have sat through various drafts-I am sure there was even a Tea Lady’s Cut at one point- will find their patience has been rewarded.

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THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES

The Place Beyond the Pines

 GOSLING

This film directed by Derek Cianfranc-Blue Valentine– is an ambitious attempt to draw together three separate narratives with a linking linear thread which succeeds on many levels but ultimately feels cumbersome and over extended towards its conclusion. Featuring Ryan Gosling as a bleached blonde, heavily tattooed biker boy in a ripped Metallica t-shirt who performs stunts in a travelling show, Cianfranc bravely kills his star off after the first hour. His lead role duties baton is immediately handed over to Bradley Cooper who carries the film until it is handed down to two younger actors Dane DeHaan and Emory Cohen who lead the film out in its least convincing sequence.

 Opening with a long shot of Gosling’s ‘photo-shopped’ torso the first part of the film focuses on his drifter character Luke whose life and attitude changes when he discovers he has fathered a child with Romina-Eva Mendes- and decides to stick around and be involved in his son Jason’s life. However a life on the straight and narrow provides neither financial gain nor excitement so eventually he turns to robbing banks with his friend Robin –Ben Mendelsohn- which eventually leads to a police shootout with fatal consequences. This brief scene is the only moment Gosling’s character and Cooper’s policeman, Avery Cross, actually intersect but it is a pivotal moment which ensures their lives are forever entwined.

 The consequences of Avery’s shooting of Luke are far reaching- he has a son the same age as Luke’s and feels guilt at leaving a youngster fatherless- and eventually he finds himself involved in police corruption led by a superior officer named Deluca- an appropriately menacing Ray Liotta- which he has to extricate himself from by any means necessary but ultimately in the most advantageous to himself.

 Fast forward fifteen years and the two progeny-both now 17- of the leading characters end up bonding at High School over alcohol, drugs and their outsider status. Avery Cross is now involved in politics and running for public office. His son AJ is sullen and moody despite all the advantages he has at his disposal. Luke’s son Jason however is as much of a loner but has his father’s naturally withdrawn state to contend with as well. The two form an unconvincing friendship which rapidly falls into competitiveness and eventually out and out hostility.

 This last section of the film is its least convincing and feels as if it has been tacked on to give the narrative some sense of closure. The acting performances are also in a different league to those of Cooper and Gosling and lose some of the momentum the two actors have managed to attain thus far. Gosling especially makes the most of his screen time with a performance which relies little on dialogue but more on the nuance of expression. In a lesser actor it would come across as little other than method moping- a fault the two younger actors in the last third of the film fall into- but in his hands it is a riveting performance on a par with his turn in Drive.

 Ultimately The Place Beyond the Pines falls short of its lofty ambitions but it is still an accomplished film which is head and shoulders above many others on the circuit at the moment. It is mainly its last section which lets it down but until that point it is an admirable attempt at drawing two different stories and lifestyle together and showing how one moment’s decision can affect certain individuals lives for years to come and for generations in the future.

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