The Strong and Silent Type

September 29, 2011
Ryan Gosling as Driver in the film "Drive."

I’m a little late to the “Drive” party (though I did see it before it came out). So I’m probably not the first person to tell you to go see “Drive,” but, well, you really should go see “Drive.”

First off, know that it’s quite violent (I saw a lot of the movie peeking out from behind the notebook I was holding in front of my face.) But see it so you can watch Ryan Gosling in the performance that finally moves him from “really hot guy who can act” to “really great actor who is also really hot.” And that’s most apparent when his character — known simply as “Driver” — isn’t saying a word.

Gosling occupies that negative space between dialogue with a presence that is, well, have you seen that episode of “The Simpsons” where the Yakuza show up in the Simpsons’ backyard, and there’s one guy standing quietly in the middle of a brawl, and Homer says something like, “I want to see what that guy is going to do”? That’s what it’s like. Gosling can just stand there and give off a vibe that’s so calm and menacing at the same time that you know when he gets mad, it’s going to make the violent men who surround him look like 3-year-olds throwing temper tantrums.

It takes talent to create a person using words that someone else wrote. It takes a gift to do it in silence.

Kristen Page-Kirby covers film, arts and events for Express.
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