Ryan Gosling Crime Films: Who Did It Best

Ryan Gosling Crime Films: Who Did it Best

By Izzy Larson

Contains spoilers for Drive and The Place Beyond the Pines

 

Quarantine has got me on a major Ryan Gosling kick. From Only God Forgives to Lars and the Real Girl, his success at avoiding cast type as well as his ability to select a diverse collection of projects never ceases to reconfirm the respect I have for him as an artist. While I am never disappointed with his performances, I recently viewed for the first time two of his films that completely blew me away with the storytelling—Drive and The Place Beyond the Pines. In turn, I can not help but compare the two. Both feature Gosling as a skilled driver (in Drive he is a professional stunt car driver, in Place Beyond he is a professional motorcyclist) who commits armed robbery in hopes of supporting a family. While the content appears similar in theory, the directing styles create two drastically different tones, pushing me to ask myself: which film did it best?

 

Drive plays out on screen like a poem; written in blood, read in dim elevator corners, an ode to midnight Los Angeles. Director Nicholas Winding Refn is surely a poet, but his strength isn’t necessarily the weight of the words of the script, it’s the imagery they evoke. Drive is one of the most visually striking films I’ve seen; the shots are not only beautiful, but also provide important storytelling aspects. There is no dialogue that isn’t necessary and as the viewer you never find yourself wishing for less silence—in fact we see Gosling’s character’s relationship with Carey Mulligan’s character grow into a complex dynamic with little more than awkward yet earnest smiles. There’s this one unbelievable shot in an elevator where Gosling pushes Mulligan behind him and kisses her before killing the man in the elevator with them in one of the most brutal manners I’ve ever experienced. I could analyze this scene for pages so I’ll cut it short and just say that the visuals of Drive made me feel the same way I felt when watching 1917 and Mad Max:Fury Road—breathless. 

 

While The Place Beyond the Pines cannot begin to compare to Drive in a stylistic sense I would be hard-pressed to find a script and direction that I enjoy more. The Place Beyond the Pines is a phenomenal story about the love motorcyclist-turned-criminal Luke Glanton has for his son, wonderfully illustrated by director Derek Cianfrance. The film takes place in essentially three acts that weave together to create layers of relationship building between complex characters throughout multiple generations. Cianfrance shows what love and sacrifice means through life altering events, but he also pays attention to the little things; a photograph in a police-confiscated backpack, sunglasses in an abandoned trailer and parallel tracking shots of Luke and his son Jason are some of the details that drive the emotion of the film. Cianfrance shows us characters that aren’t one thing, they’re angry, and heartbroken, and compassionate, and they make bad choices, yet we as the audience still care about them. Few directors can tell such a huge story with such a large ensemble while still making it feel as personal as Cianfrance does, and while I applaud him for his directing I must also applaud him for the best writing of his career, with lines like, “if you ride like lightning you’re going to crash like thunder” that I find myself repeating in my head weeks after viewing. 
So…who did it best? I’d love to say The Place Beyond the Pines surpasses Drive, but when it comes to the question of what is the better piece of art, Drive is undeniably more visually impressive. That being said, The Place Beyond the Pines is one of the most important films to me on a personal level that I’ve ever seen, and I would choose the script itself over Drive any day. As for directing, Cianfrance and Winding Refn are very equally matched; their directing styles differ greatly yet both manage to tell their stories with a unique voice, making it seem unfair to deem one a superior director (although secretly my money’s on Cianfrance). The overall verdict? Drive is the prettier art, The Place Beyond the Pines is the richer story. 

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Films for a Gloomy Day: JuiceMedia Picks

With Mother Nature catching a cold and making it snow again, everyone can feel a little gray like the clouds. Some people may read a book or play a game while huddled under their blankets, or having fun in the city with some good company.

For the students at JuiceMedia it’s a good film. Here are their answers.

Image result for punch drunk loveBaine: “I would have to go with Punch Drunk Love, because it’s a well-written comedy with some good and obscure humor, as well as having a relatable story.”

Image result for legends of the drunken masterBen: “I like watching Jackie Chan films on a bad day. Legend of the Drunken Master is a personal fave because it’s a perfect blend of well choreographed action with good humor. It just works.”

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Elias: “Kubo & the Two Strings. Hands down. The beautiful stop-motion animation is amazing (expect nothing less from Laika), and the story is wonderful. The music blends well into the narrative, which makes it great for a gloomy day.”

 

Gavin: “It would have to be a tie between Upgrade from 2018 with its

Image result for upgrade 2018 postercinematography and dark, yet enjoyable story, or King Arthur from 2017 with its music and visuals. Either way, they‘re both great films to watch.”

Image result for frances haIzzy: “I would go with Frances Ha. It’s a bittersweet film, but the writing by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach makes the story and humor work. And I really like Gerwig’s performance in the film.”

Nathan: “I think I would have to go with Eighth Grade. It is a sad film, yeah, but I felt nostalgic for that not-so-distant past.”

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Sev: “Coraline. I enjoy its atmosphere, and it’s fun to watch on a gloomy day.”

Tommy: “Baby Driver is my pick for sure. I really like the protagonist. He’s so cool. Notjust that, I like the story, the acting, its pacing, music and editing. It’s great even for a sunny day.”Image result for baby driver

If you have a film that you like to watch on a gloomy day, leave a comment below. Or check out the films these students enjoy. It might become your new rainy/snowy/gloomy day film.

 

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Preproduction, Pitches and Presentation

With the third week of Juice Media wrapping up, everyone’s pumped for their upcoming big project.

But first, a recap.

The students finished and screened their second group projects – motion poems. These poems ranged from heartfelt and sentimental to dark and bone-chilling. Each project had its own flare, which was brought by each student who helped crafted the motion poem’s visual style and tone. All projects have been uploaded to Juice Media’s Vimeo page.

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A special guest came to visit Juice Media; Ryan Stopera from Motion Poems. He presented his own experience with filmmaking in the Twin Cities area; the struggles that came with location scouting and time constraints, to finish projects and his connection with different communities. Mr. Stopera gave some advice that was worth repeating: keep creating and don’t be afraid to show your work to others.

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Throughout the week, everyone worked on their first individual projects. At least the preproduction stage. From the story being planned out and writing the script, to the storyboards and finding potential actors.

Soon, they will be presenting their pitches, and then the fun can really begin.

 

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Spring 2020!

JuiceMedia Spring 2020 got off to an awesome start with a mock 48 hour film competition! The students broke out into 3 groups and each group received a line of dialogue, a prop, a character trait, and a genre that they had to build their film around.

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The students had only three JuiceMedia sessions to plan, shoot, and edit their videos, getting to know one another along the way. You can find their finished videos on our Vimeo page!

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Final Screening Fall 2019

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The Fall 2019 final screening took place on December 12th. There was an hour worth of films, a filmmaker Q&A, pizza, snacks, popcorn, and an awards ceremony! Over 60 community members attended.

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Before and after the screening, attendees took photos in our JuiceMedia photo booth, filled with props and fun! Thanks so much to everyone who came out. Can’t wait for JuiceMedia Spring 2020, which begins January 28th.

Check out our Vimeo to see all of the awesome films made this session: https://vimeo.com/groups/juicemedia

 

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Table Reads & Green Screens

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This week Azi and intern Blongsha busted out the green screen. Azi’s project “The Billhilly” has a scene where his character shows up onto a computer screen and tears a file on its desktop. So we set up the c-stands and got to work! Meanwhile, Elliott dove into a table read to get feedback on his script, and Tommy and Elias munched on some snacks before storyboarding:

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Finishing Up Project 1

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This week students shot their last scenes of project 1. Here, Noah works as DP on Nathan’s film, called “Cease At Once, Ex BF.” It’s a comedy about the fickleness of dating in high school. Nathan hosted auditions among JuiceMedia students last week:

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