Ryan Gosling (And His Stunt Team) Lead A Spectacular Time At The Movies [SXSW 2024]


The premise reveals the magic trick. Gosling is Colt Seavers, a dashing Hollywood stunt performer with a heart of gold. Blunt is Jody Moreno, Colt’s ex and a first-time director at the helm of a difficult sci-fi project. Her leading man is missing. Colt is tasked by the film’s super-producer (Hannah Waddingham, another point in the “endlessly appealing” column) to join the movie’s crew and track the MIA movie star down. Naturally, Colt finds himself balancing his tenuous, reignited relationship with Jody while we discover a conspiracy that threatens more than a few careers, not to mention the entire production.

If this sounds like an adorable romantic comedy got shoved into the Cronenberg pod with a bombastic action movie, that’s because “The Fall Guy” is exactly that. But it’s a lovely mutation — Colt wanders from one genre to the other, doing his part as the rom-com boyfriend before walking a corner and kicking butts as the action hero. Gosling navigates two films in one, proving himself for the nth time to be one of the most gifted and versatile leading men of his generation. We don’t even notice as the two storylines slowly intertwine and become one by the home stretch, because both are so capably told. Those who are there for the action find themselves enjoying a stellar rom-com; folks present for the flirting and the longing get to invest themselves in car chases, shootouts, and explosions.

Both storylines feed into each other. Both feel necessary. Both feel as if they’re being given the same attention and care as the other. In one especially delightful scene, Colt and Jody speak over the phone and we’re treated to their conversation in split screen. He’s investigating a dark apartment. She’s trying to fix her script’s busted third act. Their conversation furthers both storylines, deepens their connection, and serves every angle of the movie at once. The rom-com and the action film coexist as one. Leitch, that script, and those actors spin it all into blissful entertainment. Great banter is already rare enough, but great banter ensconced in such sly, playful physical filmmaking is a unicorn.

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