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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Reel Thoughts: ‘The Fall Guy’ highlights power of stunt doubles, Ryan Gosling

Illustration by Sophie Zhang
While the main romance falls short, the “movie within a movie” format in “The Fall Guy” breathes new life into the action genre.

It was nearly impossible to leave the theater after seeing “The Fall Guy” and not think about “Barbie,” the movie that dominated theaters this summer. Both films star Ryan Gosling, in all his artificial blonde glory, pining after a strong woman played by an A-list actress. In “Barbie,” Margot Robbie was his muse; in “The Fall Guy” it’s Emily Blunt playing an ambitious director.

In “The Fall Guy,” Gosling trades his Ken costumes for the branded bomber jacket of stunt man Colt Seavers. A gnarly injury has forced Seavers into an early retirement from Hollywood, taking him out of his business of falling out of buildings and acting out choreographed fight scenes. Instead, he spends his time working as a valet and juicing greens, worlds away from his former glory.

Unexpectedly, Seavers is asked to get on a plane to Australia to start stunt work again, but arrives to find that he’s there to track down the missing lead actor, Tom Ryder. Coincidentally, the movie he flies in for is directed by Jody Moreno (Blunt), his ex-girlfriend and ex-stunt coordinator. His pursuit of Ryder conveniently gives him a chance to show off all of his stuntman skills, including fighting with rubberized weapons, dangling off the backs of trucks and jumping boats with his hands tied, all while trying to win Moreno back. 

 Having an entire movie production within this movie may seem overwhelming, but on screen it’s a delight for any cinephile. The film takes viewers behind the scenes of the thrilling car chases and fight scenes. If you have ever wondered how exactly they safely light stunt people on fire, then this movie is for you. 

Gosling dominates the big screen for almost the entirety of the movie flawlessly. During breaks from the action, his comedic timing and repertoire with co-stars hold viewers captivated. He perfectly chooses when to make the audience laugh, swoon, gasp and sigh in a way only a seasoned movie star can. 

However, viewers hoping for a heart-melting Gosling love story, like in “The Notebook,” “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” or “La La Land,” will be sorely disappointed. Gosling and Blunt’s chemistry doesn’t hold up to the expectations of the trailer or the precedent of his past films. Although the first ten minutes seem like a classic Gosling rom-com, the remainder of the film lacks convincing romance. Even Blunt’s usual charm doesn’t shine in her role and beyond some bold fashion choices, her character is almost entirely forgettable. 

Where chemistry lacks, old school car flipping, boat jumping and intergalactic space fighting abounds. Fittingly, the movie about a stunt man has incredible stunts. Usually, lengthy action sequences set to 80s music don’t land, but “The Fall Guy” executes them perfectly. Any more of these scenes would be overdone, but it toes the line in the best way. 

The biggest feat of “The Fall Guy” is that it convinces the audience for over two hours that Gosling, one of the biggest movie stars of the year, is just a lowly stunt man, constantly overshadowed by the real movie star. Through Gosling’s superb performance, “The Fall Guy” becomes an ode to the stunts and the people who go through fire (literally) to create them. 

“The Fall Guy” hits theaters in the United States on May 3.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @LydiaPlahn13

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