Robert (of Distant Relatives) here with the lastest Yes, No, Maybe So. Even those well versed in the films of Nicolas Winding Refn may have been surprised when his latest film Drive, starring Ryan Gosling as a Hollywood stunt driver by day/getaway car driver for hire by night and Carey Mulligan as his love interest, was announced as part of the lineup for Cannes 2011. It premiered as one of the break out hits of the festival, and Refn took home the Best Director prize. Since then it's been hype, excitement, anticipation and endless tals of Refn/Gosling man-love. For those of us who didn't catch it on The Croisette, we're finally getting our first look.
I admit, I count myself among those who'll see just about anything with Gosling in it. But the supporing cast is equally intriguing, Mulligan, Christina Hendricks, Brian Cranston, and Albert Brooks whose buzzy villainous turn isn't even played up here. In fact there's something refereshingly sincere about this trailer, in a world where action movies are either for kids (or at least made to appeal to the widest possible PG-13 demographic) or ironically self-aware in a Machete, Shoot 'em Up kind of way that loves winking at you over their intentional B-picture status. No one here is mugging or pandering. At least not that I can tell.
Of course, I'm not sure that the Gosling fanbase and the gritty action movie fanbase are one in the same. I admit that I have mixed feelings about the genre and aren't even sure if I'm looking foward to this as a lark or with the excitement of something that could really be among the best films of the year. If the film didn't star Gosling, or the rest of that cast, or didn't have all the Cannes hype behind it, would I be as excited? Then again toss in enough hypotheticals and you're left with "if this film didn't have the elements that made it this film, i'm not sure I'd want to see this film," no kidding.
Really though, any personal reservations I can muster up are minor. I find myself squarely in the "yes" category for this. The trailer does a good job of solidifying it as a tough-as-nails action film with some staple archetypes and high cinematic style while maintaining plenty of mystery. It's a good tease. And then there's Gosling. Has anyone perfected the good boy charm/bad boy intensity like he has? Can we declare this "The Year of the Goz?" Maybe not yet, but he certainly seems at home as an action character.
Have you been anticipating this since Cannes? How important is the presence of Gosling? How much has the trailer affected the hype? Are you up for a good thriller?