Brian Henry Martin at the movies

The Dazzling Ryan Gosling

Published Thursday, 25 April 2013
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Not since Steve McQueen has any man looked cooler on a motorbike. Place this same actor behind the wheel of a car and he purrs like Paul Newman.

Men admire him, women adore him, he's a modern towering inferno of a leading man who tears up the screen with every performance.

And with his latest film role, Canadian Ryan Gosling proves again, he is the most dynamic film star working in cinema today.

Thirty-two-year old Gosling first caught my eye ten years ago as a fresh faced college killer opposite Sandra Bullock in Murder By Numbers. Then came The Notebook, a wonderful weepy which few women can resist, in which Gosling breaks hearts in the ultimate forget me not.

Oscar recognition followed as a troubled teacher in Half Nelson, and then came the powerhouse performances of Drive, Blue Valentine and The Ides Of March; Gosling was no longer an up and coming actor but a fully fledged film star.

His latest film, The Place Beyond The Pines is an epic crime thriller told in three parts, exploring the fractured bond between fathers and sons. The sweeping drama unfolds over 15 years as the sins of the past haunt the present.

In the film's first part, Gosling plays Luke, a blonde danger man who lives his life in the transient limelight of a travelling show. In one fantastic tracking shot, we see this tattooed fairground attraction in his trailer throwing shapes with a knife. Then, over his muscled torso, he slips on a blood red leather jacket and heads out through the carnival crowd.

With a cigarette burning from his bottom lip, Luke is welcomed as a sideshow superstar, who then revs the wheels of his bike and rides the 'globe of death'.

But suffering from motorcycle emptiness in yet another small town, Luke decides to refuel his relationship with former lover, Romina, (Eva Mendes) who recently and secretly gave birth to the stunt rider's son. "Anything you want to tell me?" Luke asks Romina, "Before I leave here and never come back."

In an attempt to provide for his new family, Luke quits the carnival life and takes to the wrong side of the tracks as 'the Moto Bandit' committing a series of high octane bank robberies.

These daring crimes sets him on a collision course with an ambitious local police officer, Avery Cross, (played by Bradley Cooper). As hero and villain collide, The Place Beyond The Pines, takes an unexpected left turn into its second and third parts.

Uneasy rider Gosling is electric in every scene as the broody, blonde bank-robber. He has singlehandedly invented a new film genre; the ultra violent, super cool; characters so tough they will bust your nose and break your heart at the same time.

A famous French director once said "All you need for a movie is a girl and gun" but all you really need is Ryan Gosling on a motorbike.

The Place Beyond The Pines (Cert 15) is now on general release.

© UTV News
B. H. Martin
B. H. Martin

Brian Henry Martin is an accomplished documentary filmmaker and UTV's resident film critic, appearing regularly on UTV Live Tonight.

No matter what the film, there's a good chance Brian has seen it.


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