The Place Beyond The Pines
- Director:Derek Cianfrance
- Cast:Rose Byrne, Bradley Cooper, Ryan Gosling, Ray Liotta, Ben Mendelsohn, Eva Mendes
- Release Date:May 09, 2013
- Running time:140 minutes
- Film Worth:$19.50
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Director, Derek Cianfrance, combines intimate storytelling with an epic narrative to create something truly special.
With the lean, economic drama, Blue Valentine, writer/director, Derek Cianfrance (whose 1998 debut, Brother Tied, barely saw release) announced himself as a filmmaker with a striking facility for digging deep and getting intimate. For his follow up film, The Place Beyond The Pines, Cianfrance grabs that skill for the personal and takes it wide, telling a big, sprawling, multi-generational tale while still keeping the focus on the minute details of his characters’ inner lives. The result is the best kind of film: big enough to be bracing, but small enough to draw you right in, and then exercise a firm, vice-like grip.
In a grand, sweeping story structure, The Place Beyond The Pines begins with “Handsome” Luke (Ryan Gosling, continuing to daringly angle for the position of the most consistently interesting leading man of his generation), a travelling carnival stunt rider who puts the brakes on his going-nowhere-very-very-fast existence when he learns that a brief fling with Romina (a wonderfully rumpled Eva Mendes) has resulted in a son. Desperate to provide for his new family, Luke turns to pulling bank jobs under the shady but big-hearted guidance of his friend/boss, Robin (Ben Mendelsohn makes another brilliant grab at great international character actor status). This then brings in young cop, Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper excels with a character that veers from callow inexperience to jaded compromise through the course of the film), who crosses paths with Luke, and is then thrust into his own battles with police corruption, while simultaneously trying to hose down various home front fires with his wife, Jennifer (a fine Rose Byrne). The film then jumps fifteen years, when the teenage sons of Luke and Avery – Jason and AJ, played respectively by exciting newcomers, Dane DeHaan and Emory Cohen – begin to feel the burn of their family legacies.
Like a classic Hollywood melodrama without the hysteria,the admirably measured The Place Beyond The Pines has a real weight and heaviness about it, and it’s not just the result of its 140-minute running time. Under the appealing patina of a crime film (echoes of everything from Michael Mann’s Heat to James Mangold’s Copland can be faintly heard), The Place Beyond The Pines deals with the big, classic theme of the sins of the father being visited upon the son, but in a vital and strikingly contemporary way. It’s almost Biblical in scope, but it’s the film’s small moments (Luke buying baby furniture for his son; Luke and Robin bopping to Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark” after a successful heist; the look on Avery’s face when he clocks that he’s been embroiled in an act of corruption) that linger with truly haunting power. It points to Derek Cianfrance’s amazing ability to balance the epic with the intimate, and it sends The Place Beyond The Pines hurtling towards greatness.