In Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn’s new film, Drive, Ryan Gosling plays Driver. No, not James Driver, not Danny Driver, not Jean-Claude Van Driver, just Driver. Because, you know, that’s what he does. In the daytime he does it as a Hollywood stuntman; after hours, he hires out his sweet clutch control to the highest bidding bank robber. And how does he drive? He drives cool.
Ryan Gosling, for whatever mysterious reason, seems to do most things cool. He’s an actor who, despite coming from Canada, being named after a baby animal, spending his formative years in the Mickey Mouse Club and having an improbably small distance between his eyes, reduces women to shuddering heaps by shrugging his shoulders or rolling a toothpick from one corner of his mouth to the other.
It’s all just as well, as Drive depends on the magnetism of its lead. Apart from his penchant for some pretty challenging silky bomber jackets, Driver is a man of few words, so Gosling is required to convey all kinds of inner turmoil while staring moodily out of anonymous motel room windows.
He has to look debonair while blowing various hoodlums’ brains out, which he does an increasing amount of as the film progresses. And he has to be convincing as catnip to the female lead, in this case a beleaguered Milf played by Carey Mulligan. Check, check and — here’s looking at you, shortcake — check.
Ryan Gosling, an Arthur Herbert Fonzerelli (the Herbert thing came as a shock to us too) for the 21st century? All those in favour say “aaaaeeey”.
Drive is out on 23 September