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September 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Once again Ryan Gosling is drawing exceptional notices, this time for his performance in Drive, playing a race-car driver (referred to, as it so happens, as “Driver” — who also moonlights as a getaway driver for a criminal gang. “Anyone watching Drive won’t be able to take their eyes off Gosling. … He rocks like a young Steve McQueen or Robert De Niro,” writes Peter Howell in the Toronto Star. Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times, after noting that the film reminded him of the Steve McQueen thriller Bullitt because of its “respect for writing acting and craft,” then goes on to remark, “Maybe there was another reason I thought of Bullitt. Ryan Gosling is a charismatic actor, as Steve McQueen was. … He has shown a gift for finding arresting, powerful characters.” The headline on Joe Neumaier’s review in the New York Daily News reads, “Ryan Gosling cruises to new level of his career.” Neumaier goes on to write that Gosling’s performance “provides one of the most tense turns in this already hushful actor’s young career.” And Claudia Puig in USA Today comments: “In the hands of a lesser actor, Driver could have been an empty vessel. But Gosling pumps the minimalist character with brooding complexity.” Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times offers high praise for the movie overall, but cautions: “Drive doesn’t spend a lot of time on mayhem, but what does get put on screen is intense, unsettling and increasingly grotesque and graphic as the film goes on.” And A.O. Scott in the New York Times suggests that the main fault with the movie is simply that it could have been better. “The skill and polish are hard to dispute,” he writes, “but … it is, for all its bravado, timid and conventional.”