Thursday, May 23, 2024

Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling Take Center Stage at Cannes

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It’s almost the end of the Cannes Film Festival, and the best has been saved for last. Sean Penn opens first tonight in “This Must Be The Place,” directed by Paolo Sorrentino. Then Ryan Gosling comes with “Drive,” from Nicholas Winding Refn. I saw them both this morning, they’re excellent. “This Must Be the Place” may even wind up with The Weinstein Company from what I’m hearing, which would be a great reunion of Penn and Harvey Weinstein. They made a movie years ago which Sean directed called “She’s So Lovely.”

In “This Must Be the Place,” Sean plays a an aging punk rocker from the early 80s who resembles Robert Smith of The Cure. Cheyenee, his character, has been cut off emotionally from his Orthodox Jewish family in New York, but returns when his father dies. It’s an odd story, but Sorrentino has a great visual sense. Also, David Byrne performs his song, “This Must Be the Place” live, and it’s even better than it was a hundred years ago in Jonathan Demme’s “Stop Making Sense.” Frances McDormand plays Sean’s wife with her usual fun crankiness. But the movie is all about Penn, who is unforgettable.

Meantime, Ryan Gosling takes a giant leap forward with “Drive,” a dreamily paced noir action film. This movie has cult classic written all over it. Gosling, now buffed up, emerges as a kind of new Steve McQueen. He’s had plenty of kudos, awards and nominations, but “Drive” will launch him into the leading man, action hero department. He also has a strong supporting cast with Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman, Carey Mulligan, and an outstanding Albert Brooks.

“Drive” is a violent film about lunatics who kill for money without thinking twice. Gosling plays a professional driver who can out pace anyone as he assists with robberies, etc. He’s also a survivor. “Drive” is incredibly stylish, although I wish someone would lose the cheesy ABBA soundtrack and put in some decent music that fits the film. (Hello, producers: call Randall Poster.)

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
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