Ryan Reynolds is a Canadian-born actor with a full list of film credits to his name; film credits that always seem to make sense on paper but when they’ve often hit the big screen, something has gone a bit wrong in the translation from page to screen.
So is he cursed? He is, after all, the constant in all his projects…
Not at all, because he always gives solid performances and quite a few of his films have been both critical and commercial successes including our first movie today.
FILM 1: DEADPOOL (2016)
DEADPOOL was released last week just in time for Valentine’s Day, which is fitting because in some ways it’s a true love story, albeit a love story with a contract killer and a prostitute as the main couple.
Reynolds plays Wade Wilson, a contract killer with a habit of mouthing off his acerbic wit in any given situation. Wade falls hopelessly in love with Vanessa, the prostitute played by Morena Baccarin, only to find out a year later that his body is riddled with cancer. Sounds like a ‘laugh-a-minute’ so far, right? Well, the thing is the film is actually very funny and that is almost entirely down to Reynolds and his portrayal of the character.
Wade Wilson is approached by a shady government type who offers him a cure for his cancer. This ‘cure’ turns out to be a torturous process that activates his dormant super-powers that allow his body to heal from anything, given enough time.
If this all sounds a little far-fetched, well it is based on a well-loved Marvel character who is often featured in comics with the likes of the X-Men.
The relatively modest production budget, reported to be around the $40 million dollar mark, and tight filming schedule (just 47 days) meant that the production team had to be creative, and it’s paid off big time with the film netting an estimated $260 million global box office in a four-day opening weekend.
It’s violent, it’s gory, it’s very funny in lots of offensive ways. What I’m saying is, it’s not a family movie nor a movie for those who’d prefer to see something a little less … well, just ‘a little less’, I guess!
FILM 2: THE CROODS (2013)
This glorious animation from Dreamwork Studios crept into theatres back in 2013 with relatively little fanfare and I have not yet met someone who’s seen it and hasn’t liked it.
The Croods are a family of cavemen who are protected and controlled by the dad, Nicholas Cage. His teenage daughter, Emma Stone, is inquisitive and slips out of their cave one night to find a strapping young man named Guy, played by Ryan Reynolds. Guy quickly becomes the apple of the daughter’s eye, much to the disgust of her doting dad, but their chance meeting sets off a chain of events that find the family on the run and looking for new shelter as they all start to grow and discover more about themselves and each other.
Here is just one line that encapsulates the comic tone of the film perfectly:
“We’ve been in a cave forever!”
“Three days, is not ‘forever!'”
“It is with this family!”
The whole film is a combination of cracking lines and great visual gags but also a genuine warmth to the story. There is much for the whole family to relate to in this film. It’s the perfect opposite to DEADPOOL, if DEADPOOL isn’t your cup of tea.
FILM 3: BURIED (2010)
So, swinging away from family-friendly films with our last one today; this film made such an impact on me when I first watched it that I had to include it here. The film is called BURIED and, for the most part, is a 95-minute-long, one-man film.
Ryan Reynolds plays Paul Conroy, a US truck driver working in Iraq. At the start of the film, Paul wakes up to find himself buried alive in a wooden coffin. He only has a lighter and a mobile phone with him and the film just keeps ramping up the tension with each new discovery he makes.
During an interview for the film at the time of release, Reynolds expanded on why BURIED is, to him, a ‘true thriller’:
“Very few movies for me have a genuine, heart-pounding ticking clock and this one did. Right from the moment we start, it’s a ticking clock so it creates that sense of urgency let alone [the film is] capitalising on, probably, most people’s worst fear that they could ever, ever have. So that’s what makes it a classic thriller movie for me”
It’s a very well-crafted film, Reynolds is superb in it. There are not many actors who could single-handedly keep your attention for over an hour and a half in a single location setting of a coffin. It’s a difficult watch – especially if you are claustrophobic – and the ending disappoints a lot of people, however true to life it may be.
- The Voices – Lovely off-beat comedy thriller with Gemma Arterton.
- Scrubs – only in one episode (“My Dream Job”) but who cares, it’s an excuse to watch an episode of Scrubs!
- Turbo – released in the same year as The Croods, this was another animated family film with Ryan Reynolds voicing the titular character of Turbo – a super-charged, racing snail. Great fun, but sadly overlooked at the box office.