Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Place Beyond The Pines

Year: 2013
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne, Ben Mendelsohn, Dane DeHaan, Emory Cohen

Plot: A three part story that focuses on a motorcycle stunt rider who resorts to bank robbing to provide for his infant son, the cop who eventually guns him down and faces corruption in his department after the incident, and the two men's respective sons who become friends years later, not knowing their fathers' previous history.

Review: I had watched Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine before and thought it was quite depressing and not easy to process. Not that it wasn't good, it was. Just not my kind of film. The Place Beyond The Pines however is a much better movie.

Cianfrance, who co-wrote the film and directs Ryan Gosling again, unveils a trilogy of sorts, three stories that are connected to one another. In the first one, Gosling is Luke Glanton, a motorcycle stunt rider who finds out his ex-girlfriend (Eva Mendes) has a son by him, and chooses to rob banks so that he can help raise him. After being shot dead by Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper), we move to Cross' section of the film, where he gets a medal and is hailed a hero by his department. However, some crooked cops led by an intimidating Ray Liotta, puts Cross in a difficult position when they get him involved in stealing some evidence money. The final story involves Luke's son Jason (Dane DeHaan) and Cross' son AJ (Emory Cohen) 15 years later, as the two become friends and fellow junkies in the process, until the inevitable revelation of their respective dads.

All three stories are very solid, though the last one is a little weaker than the first two in my opinion. Every actor executes their role well, especially Gosling and Cooper. Gosling brings his usual quiet charm to the fore, while Cooper is a stark contrast to his well known comedic characteristics. Eva Mendes is also surprisingly good in her role, and so is Ben Mendelsohn as Luke's robbery accomplice. The two boys, DeHaan and Cohen are great as well, though it must be said that DeHaan is basically being the same kid from Chronicle here.

The only downside to this film is the length. By the time you get to the half mark of the third story, it starts to feel long. It doesn't help that this segment is the weakest of the three, as you can almost smell what's coming. Even then, Cianfrance opts for an ending that doesn't quite live up to what had come before.

But I can't deny that The Place Beyond The Pines is a rock solid drama with great cinematography and music score to boot. Recommended. (4/5)

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