Is there a star as determined as Tom Cruise to show how hard he works? Is there one as desperate to show how hard he’s working for us?
We’re now in an age of such control that smoothness and the illusion of ease have taken over the movies. Ryan Gosling’s performance in “Drive’’ encapsulates the vogue for a kind of touchless action-hero and all that he does: the appeal of his grace and clenched jaw, the erasure of sweat and strain. I love Gosling and the less archly styled Jason Statham. But Cruise is laughing at them. Cruise will clench his jaw until his teeth shatter - do you think he cares that he just had his man-braces removed? For a paying audience to watch him save the world, he’d have his entire mouth reconstructed. Silly me. I almost typed “pretend to save the world,’’ but isn’t that the difference between Cruise and everybody else? There’s no “cut’’ for him.