Originally Posted by ratpacker
I don't think the trouble with Gosling's performance is that he's too much the Hollywood pretty boy to be believable, after all the ladies sure liked McQueen back in the day. It's just that for a character to be that disconnected from the world around him, so guarded with words and so anti-social, you have to have a few miles under your belt in the game of life to make it seem real. The guy was 30 or so when he made the movie, but he could pass for 25, and I probably wouldn't find McQueen or Eastwood very believable in such a part at that tender age, either. I know the movie went for "mysterious" as far as his character is concerned, but a little hint of backstory might have helped sell his character better. The best comparison I can make is Travis Bickle- he was a young, anti-social loner driven to violent acts and the urge to protect someone. But he was given a hint of backstory so that we could understand a little better how he came to be in the place he was.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
And when The Driver dons that mask towards the end, it kinda' felt like a cheesy horror movie spoof.
Yeah, I can see his age being an issue to some. But saying that 25 is too young for someone to be disconnected from the world is a bit silly to me. Age isn't the only thing that determines how many "miles" you have under your belt. I know many people who have been through more by the time they're 18 than most people deal with in a lifetime.
As for him being guarded with words and "anti-social", I think that's just meant to be his personality. Not really a result of his upbringing or past experiences, but I'm sure those things helped reinforce it after the fact. I just wrote about this in my earlier comment. It's just a matter of someone being an introvert. Age has nothing to do with it. But there are always those "less-than-understanding" who find introverts to be people with serious issues. It just isn't the case. It's just a coincidence in Drive, and becomes an issue for some as they're used to being told why
someone becomes unhinged. But the personality of Goslisng's character is what keeps his past hidden. He simply doesn't want to share his problems with anyone.
You're supposed to wonder what could've happen to make him the person he is now. It's meant to be a shock when you see who he really is, and how young he is relative to how cold and distant he is. I don't think this was the goal of Taxi Driver.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The mask wasn't cheesy. Or at least it shouldn't have been. It was a way for him to further hide himself(his crazed side) from the world. Obviously he wore it so no one would recognize him literally, but it can also be taken figuratively.