Viewed – 09 March 2012  Blu-ray

Post-Oscar, this remains one of the forgotten, highly acclaimed movies to come out in the last twelve months, and the simple fact it was only nominated for it’s sound-editing, says a lot for the snobbery of the judges.  Ryan Gosling (The Notebook) stars as a stunt man moonlighting as a getaway driver, due to his expertise behind the wheel, who befriends a pretty next door neighbour and her young son.  Yet when the husband arrives home from a prison stint, Ryan gets roped into a robbery and before long, he’s trying to outsmart some very brutal gangsters and save not only his own skin, but also that of his neighbour.

Gosling plays this with brooding intensity … nice and unassuming on the outside, snarling pit bull on the inside.  It’s very Travis Bickle, and works brilliantly, making Ryan Gosling suddenly one to watch.  The movie is filmed in a style that borrows from eighties-era Michael Mann (think Miami Vice, L.A. Takedown) and has moments of brutal violence that scream Quentin Tarantino.  Yet this movie has its own voice also, helped by impeccable editing and stylish cinematography, with a soundtrack straight out of late eighties synth, that makes it one of the more iconic movies in recent memory.

The often underrated Ron Perlman is great as a local mobster, as is an intense Albert Brooks as Perlman’s business partner.  For me, some of the violence bordered on B-movie however, and the ending lacked the ‘punch’ the rest of the movie has in spades, but overall this was a smouldering and effective thriller and a perfect showcases for an actor at the top of his game.

Verdict:  4 /5

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