In Drive, he plays a marble-mouthed weirdo, just like he does in every film
Ryan Gosling isn't a movie star. Over this past summer, it was easy to get confused on this point. First GQ wondered if he was "the perfect celebrity." Then Esquire put him on its cover. And in the dog days of August, Gosling magically and majestically materialized to break up a fight in an intersection in lower Manhattan. Here, seemingly, was Hollywood's long-awaited blond, hunky savior, custom-built for prime placement on freeway billboards.
If only Gosling were as unaffected and loose in movies as he was in that clip of him stopping two guys from coming to blows. But he's not. He's stiff and he mumbles and generally gives the appearance of being off in his own, less interesting movie. That's why Drive, his spectacular new film that brought in an unspectacular $11 million over the weekend, is perfect. Nobody's better for the job of playing an action hero who unironically wears a white nylon jacket with a scorpion on it than Ryan Gosling: He has always had an air of the middle-school thespian who insists on having a pipe and glue-on facial hair for every role. It's also good that he doesn't have to talk much in Drive, minimizing the deployment of his awful, admittedly fake, tough-guy accent. His look of childlike Canadian wonder helps in scenes where he's, say, stomping in a hit man's head. Most fittingly, as the film progresses, his character's strong-and-silent shtick starts to wobble: Both Gosling and the guy he's playing come off like they're faking their own reticence.