Film Review – The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)

The Place Beyond the Pines

Title – The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)

Director – Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine)

Cast – Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta, Dane DeHaan, Rose Byrne, Ben Mendelsohn, Bruce Greenwood

Plot – A multilayered drama/crime story set over a period of years involving motorbike stuntman/bank robber Luke (Gosling), law student turned cop Avery Cross (Cooper) and Luke’s fling turned love interest Romina (Mendes). PBTP looks at the dealings these characters have with each other and more characters in the town of Schenectady New York.

“If you ride like lightning you’re gonna crash like thunder”

Review by Eddie on 03/10/2013

It’s hard to picture a more ambitious, sprawling and unconventional film from America this year than PBTP. Director Cianfrance here follow’s up his raw, emotional and downright great debut feature Blue Valentine with this epic and confident crime/drama that refuses to follow the normal pattern set out by modern day movies.

The more known about the story that Cianfrance has crafted here the less power it has upon first watch so it would be remiss of me to spoil to much about the structure of this multilayered tale. What can be said about the story without ruining the arc created is at the heart of the film lays a touching and believable portrait of both fathers and sons and how one person’s decision/action can reverberate throughout time. To tell this tale in a meaningful fashion Cianfrance needed a great cast on board in top form and on that front it truly delivers.

Again collaborating with Gosling after his unflattering turn in Blue Valentine Cianfrance draws a memorable screen incarnation from the heartthrob in is portrayal of lost soul Luke but it’s in the supports where PBTP really shines. From Eva Mendes blue collar girl Romina, Ben Mendelsohn’s (talk about being on a career roll!) lonely mechanic Robin and great young actor Dane DeHaan’s angry teen Jason every actor has a moment to shine even the oft lost in not caring Ray Liotta gives one of his more memorable recent performances. Credit must go to both Cianfrance’s directing and storytelling technique for these outcomes.

PBTP is a professionally crafted, beautifully shot, hauntingly scored, well-acted and impressively realistic film that should be commended for its lofty ambition and it’s scarily close to its goals final result. While somewhat diminished by its own unique tonal shifting and structure there is no denying that what we have here is a director in charge of his medium and a willingness to try new things with it. PBTP is one of this year’s best and should be visited by all lovers of good film.

4 and a half Metallica singlets out of 5

13 responses to “Film Review – The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)

  1. Great film, when I saw it in the cinema it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. You’re definitely right that the less you know about the story going in the better! Nice review!

    • I was very glad Ben that I missed many of the plot points so when I watched it I just let the film take me wherever it went to – and I was not disappointed. Can’t wait to Cianfrance’s next flick.

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