Art & Culture

I was expecting a lot of this film, hoping that it might be a Rolls Royce of a movie; whereas to my mind, it is more of a Ford Cortina with go faster stripes on the side. I enjoyed it, but not as much as I anticipated.

Things start with a bang, as unnamed supercool dude Ryan Gosling pulls off a spectacular getaway job, driving two robbers through the danger zones to safety, then walking away. At that point you think this is going to be a hell of a movie. And then its stops for the credits (in pink for some distracting reason), and we have one of those long slow crawling shots of the street and skyscrapers of a big city (LA, I presume) which we have seen a thousand times before and will see again in this film. It’s lazy shorthand for “I’m making a Michael Mann movie.”

Then off we go back into the story, and we discover that Joe Cool moonlights as a getaway driver, but also works as a stuntman, and has a buddy with a garage who wants to put on some race derby thing, with Ryan as the star driver. But he doesn’t have any money, so he’s borrowing it off Mr Big (Albert Brooks), so you know that’s going to go wrong. Then there’s Carey Mulligan as the cute neighbour with the cute kid (husband/father in jail, but due out soon), who brings out the dude’s paternal streak. So we know that’s going to go wrong. And so it goes on from there. Shit happens, and it’s always bad shit.

This is familiar territory, and requires something different to make it buzz. And while Gosling is as cool and charismatic as you like (and also violent when needed to be), and Carey Mulligan is always compelling viewing, I felt I was in a familiar place, and was getting more cpm (ciches per minute) than was good for my diet. I kept waiting to be surprised, but the only surprise was the unpleasant one of how much nasty violence there was. Nor was i moved, or even very thrilled. I expect it will do well, and will attract much more positive reviews than this one, but I would be lying if I said there was anything much to write home about here.


Phil Raby

Front Row Films

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