One actor who has come to prominence in a massive way in the last few years is Ryan Gosling. With movies such as Gangster Squad, which has just been released in the UK, being a prime example of the type of big budget high profile film to which he is often associated. On the other hand however you only have to look through his impressive bibliography of films to see that he has struck the balance well between these movies and more independent, low budget ones. One such example of this is Blue Valentine, a bleak and heart-wrenching portrayal of a young couples relationship crumbling around them, with Ryan Gosling’s Dean constantly fighting against the inevitable. The film itself depicts their entire relationship in non chronological order, juxtaposing the highs with the overwhelming lows, in other words you get nice and comfortable watching the all too familiar story of true love unfold and all the suddenly you come crashing back to reality as you are hit with the uncomfortable and gloomy truth that these things rarely run smoothly. Often this is done with such agonising intensity that it is difficult to watch. Needless to say its definitely not one to watch when your feeling a bit low, but definitely one to watch. This year will see the second collaboration between Ryan Gosling and writer / director of Blue Valentine Derek Cianfrance, which is called The Place Beyond the Pines.
While this film looks as if it will probably be somewhat an emotional rollercoaster, much like Blue Valentine, it also looks as if some of the muted tones and heartbreaking realism will be amalgamated here with a kind of crime drama heist movie. This could work really well as long as the balance between the raw emotion, done so gut wrenchingly well in Blue Valentine and crime drama elements are done in a complimentary way. I think they will be and if the balance is right this is definitely going to be one to watch out for this year. The Place Beyond the Pines is out in April.
This brings us to another of this years films which I am very excited about, again the leading man is Ryan Gosling but this time it is his second collaboration with writer / director Nicolas Winding Refn, their last film together, Drive, was one of my big highlights of 2011 and if you haven’t seen it I strongly recommend you do. This film sees Julian (Ryan Gosling) as a criminal hiding from the police in Thailand, he is the owner of a Thai boxing club which he uses as a front for his drugs operation. When his brother kills a prostitute the police call on a retired police officer, Chang to bring him to justice and needless to say Julian ends up getting involved in what will definitely be a bloody revenge story. If the violence in Drive and the one sheet (below) is anything to go by I think this could be a very brutal film. I think the decision to have it set in Thailand with the back drop of Thai boxing, is a great move and we could also see yet another side to Ryan Gosling’s already diverse acting repertoire. Only God Forgives is out in May this year.