THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES
Starring Bradley Cooper, Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes
Directed by Derek Cianfrance
The Place Beyond The Pines is a story about the lives of two men that intertwine surrounding one moment of panic. Ryan Gosling plays motorcycle stunt rider Luke who decides to use his special skills to rob banks in order to support his newly found family. The middle of the movie surrounds Bradley Cooper who plays a police hero who encounters corruption within the force and deals with his own family life. Eventually 15 years progress and the children of these two men (Emory Cohen and Dane DeHaan) collide with one and other in an explosive fashion.
This film was so nearly perfect and it started off perfect. Towards the end of the second act the movie fell away from perfection when it became slightly padded out and perhaps lost sight of the freshness that defined the opening hour. It's not that the film went bad by any means but it fell away from how good it had started. What's nice about the directorial skill is the fact that Cianfrance is unhurried in his approach and takes a long time to let the story unfold naturally and organically. There are a great many lovely moments that allow the characters to express elements of themselves through seemingly mundane and commonplace conversations. The sobering realism that starts off the film however becomes marginally lost towards the end of the second act when the story begins to relying too heavily on coincidence and potentially implausible twists of fate.
The action sequences of motorcycle getaways are thrilling and found myself literally on the edge of my seat. You get the impression from the beginning that these are real people, not superheroes, they are dispensable and fragile; so it was never clear who would survive to see the final credits. There are some truly skilful directorial aspects, the film opens with an incredible long take tracking shot of Ryan Gosling's back as he walks through the circus into the tent where he performs his stunts, as far as film openers go, it is the most memorable I have seen for a long time. The acting was sound and all participants were able to bring unexpected depth to the movie because even though a lot of our main characters were flawed you still found yourself caring and rooting for them as they were personable.
Dane DeHaan is awesome as the son of Ryan Gosling. He's kind of similar to his Chronicle character Andrew Detmer but he's different in that Jason is nonchalant and not meek. Amateur Reviews have been following his films from the beginning and his performance in The Place Beyond The Pines confirms that his career will be nothing short of illustrious.
Darker and more realistic there was no rose tinted perspective on things. The Place Beyond The Pines is a character study first and foremost - and then a thriller. It's study of our lives and how they can interlink and how one moment can affect the entire lives of many. Cianfrance did not disappoint.