The Place Beyond the Pines,2013, USA
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Star: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper & Eva Mendes
''Ya know Luke, If you ride like lightning, you're going to crash like thunder.
As of late, I have gotten into the habit of purposefully going into films with a cold shoulder and really not knowing any thing more than the Director, stars and a maybe a vague outline of the plot, this was how entered 'The Place Beyond the Pines'. My mindset going in was that it was Directed by Derek 'Blue Valentine' Cianfrance and stars 'Drive'n Gosling and 'Silver Linings' Cooper. I thought the film was going to be centered around Cooper (the cop) hunting down Gosling (the Criminal). I couldn't have been more wrong, I got a far different film...Actually I got like three different films.
A traveling Motorcycle Stuntman discovers that he has a newborn child, and decides to begin robbing banks in order provide for his estranged family.
I don't think there has ever been a time in my cinema going life where I have left the theater in such an uncertain and bewildered mood. This film took my expectations and told them to go fuck themselves. Derek Cianfrance is a great Director and from the opening tracking shot you know the hands of a very talented man.
To be honest, While there was a lot of I really liked about this film. There was also a lot I felt uneasy about, specifically the Writing. After Derek Cianfrance's brilliant 'Blue Valentine' which was a film that really strayed from the boundaries of its genre, I was expecting 'Pines' to do the same. I was very surprised when the first half hour of the film was filled with the such an obvious, and dare I say cliched, build up. While the rest of the film was far from cliched, I still had problems with the script throughout and the strange and unfulfilling decisions it seem to make. I may be in the minority with these thoughts but It's something that prevented me from having an even greater appreciation of the film.
'The Place Beyond the Pines' is a film that deals with several themes. In particular that of corruption, Repercussions for your actions and most prominently the importance of father-son relationships. The film does a good job of dealing with these themes, especially that of corruption. To be honest I wasn't the biggest fan of the way it dealt with the father-son relationship aspect, I know it takes up a bulk of the films premise but I just felt it came of a little too sentimental and tacked on.
As I alluded to above, the film is tremendously Directed by Cianfrance although I felt like his vision came off a little clustered at times I still felt like he did a fantastic job. In what may be the highlight of the film though is the Cinematography by Sean Bobbitt. The fast paced chase sequences are absolutely incredible, its a simple technique of putting a camera on the windshield but it so damn effective through the chase scenes and gives a very realistic edge to the film.
Ryan Gosling continues his run as Hollywood's most popular star with another excellent showing here. Portraying the tattoo plastered ''Handsome'' Luke. Bradley Cooper follows up his career best showing in 'Silver Linings Playbook' with another fantastic performance here, I may be starting to like this guy. The rest of the cast is terrific and features plenty of great little showings, Eva Mendes is good, Ben Mendlesohn is awesome as always and Rose Byrne is good if not a little under utilized. Oh and Ray Liotta plays the same role he's been playing since 'Goodfellas'.
'The Place Beyond the Pines' was not the film I was expecting and to be honest I really wasn't sure what to think about it. On one hand there is so much I loved here, the acting, Directing, Cinematography. On the other hand I had major problems with the script and its still something that is still gnawing at me. Overall, I have decided to call 'The Place Beyond the Pines' the best Film of 2013 thus far, Due to the fact that it left me in a trance and left a huge impression on me.