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Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Gosling Shot

Continuing the Canadian theme of recent posts, Eyewear wants to briefly celebrate rising Hollywood star, Canadian Ryan Gosling, whose latest turn was opposite Sir Anthony Hopkins (as he is called in American press releases) in a surprise early summer hit, Fracture, co-starring lithe Brit thesp and Bond Girl Rosamund Pike (pictured).

Gosling was not the first actor you'd think to cast as a grasping, smooth and libidinous Southern trial lawyer looking to jump ship from the LA DA's office to a big firm that defends rich creeps, although his earlier roles as a Jewish neo-Nazi and a drug-addicted teacher suggest he is drawn to morally challenged characters (to state the blinking obvious). Gosling was not anyone's idea of a leading man, but all that has changed with Fracture, directed by G. Hoblit, the man who brought us, about a decade back, Primal Fear, another courtroom drama with a twist and a young male lead thereby catapulted to stardom (similarly thin Edward Norton then).

What I find startling and seductive about Gosling's performance in this middle-brow thriller pleasingly punching above its weight with 80s style and 70s-era pacing (it has moments as languorous as Chinatown) is how good it is. He manages to be as yearningly beautiful and ripe for manhood as the younger Paul Newman in The Hustler, say, or Hud. Which is why when Pike plucks him from the tree of innocence, we know his fall will feel good - though office sex usually happens, if it does, after at least a day on the job, one would think.

How he does this is the magic of great acting. By acting exceptionally handsome, he becomes so. Sounds easy, but too often handsome actors can't do it. Gosling exudes the cool of late 60s icons like Newman, like McQueen, and that bodes well for his forthcoming body of work. Peter Jackson is starring him in The Lovely Bones for 2008, and that'll be intriguing.

Meanwhile, what of Hopkins? If Gosling was an odd but inspired casting choice, Hopkins was a no-brainer. Who else to play a sociopath playing cat and mouse from behind bars with a hick agent of the law? Just change the Southern drawl to an Irish brogue, and hey presto! Hopkins should do a few more The Remains of the Day films before he dies, or he may end up being the second most wasted Welsh onscreen acting genius (Richard Burton was the first).
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