Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Early reviews are overwhelmingly positive for this one on Rotten Tomatoes with a 92% fresh rating as of today. Well, don't fall for it. It's just grindhouse cheese.
Ryan Gosling stars as a stunt car driver who also moonlights as a mechanic and dabbles as a criminal getaway driver. And man, can that guy 'drive'! And in case you weren't sure about that, the overly lengthy opening sequence will drill that point home. Of course, what he makes up for in driving ability, he severely lacks in conversational skills. And that intentional lack of charisma makes the connection that develops between him and Carey Mulligan just seem phony. There's absolutely no chemistry. But that's just the beginning of my issues with this movie. Overall I was grossly disappointed, with the key word being 'gross' due to the gratuitous grindhouse-like over-the-top violence, which turns me off big time. I also didn't care for the cheesy 80's style and music that director Nicolas Winding Refn seems to revel in. (Even the font of the title on the poster irks me a bit.) It just seems to me like Refn was trying to make a good bad movie. But I don't like good bad movies. I like good movies.
Nevertheless, there are a few things to like here. Albert Brooks is always a joy to watch, and particularly here as the heavy, a role which is unlike any I've seen him do before. Ron Perlman, who's also always a blast, gives a fun over-the-top performance. And Bryan Cranston showcases what a true actor he is in a part completely different than he's done in either 'Breaking Bad' or 'Malcolm in the Middle'. Those three are top notch. I only wish this film were nearly as good as their participation. And for them, it pains me to do this, but...