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The Place Beyond The Pines (Movie) Review

 
The Place Beyond The Pines poster
The Place Beyond The Pines poster
The Place Beyond The Pines poster

 
At A Glance...
 

Genre: , ,
 
Director:
 
Age Rating:
 
Actor: , , , , , ,
 
Length: 141 minutes
 
Release Date: 12 April 2013 (UK)
 
Story Line: An epic chronicle about fatherhood and the consequences of the decisions people make, Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper head up a star studded cast in this thought provoking and emotive drama.
 
Final Score
 
 
 
 
 
4/ 5


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We liked?


An outstanding character drama sensitively handled and superbly delivered with brilliant performances from the ensemble cast.

Not so much?


Slightly overlong and problems with the pacing.


Final Fiendish Findings?

A fine accomplishment from Cianfrance who continues to demonstrate an ability to really understand and know his characters, and like Blue Valentine he has again produced a real, thought provoking and emotive human story.

0
Posted April 28, 2013 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings?
 
 

Director Derek Cianfrance reunites with his Blue Valentine star, Ryan Gosling, in this epic chronicle about fatherhood and the consequences of the decisions people make. A star studded cast including the revitalised Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne, Ben Mendelsohn, Ray Liotta and rising talent Dane DeHaan deliver mature and quality performances (particularly the always brilliant Gosling) as the disparate group of characters whose lives are collectively governed by the key decisions they each make.

Unlike previous films in which the characters cross over with each other in parallel, such as Amores Perros, Crash, Babel for example, ‘Pines’ is structured more as three individual stories, but with each one laying the foundations and background to the next before superbly coming round full circle as the effects and consequences of past decisions and actions collide to devastating consequences.

Under the guise of its crime drama plot, we meet Gosling’s bank robber and Cooper’s rookie cop as the two protagonists whose actions set the path in which the people around them will unconsciously follow, in particular their respective sons. Gosling plays a man desperate to be a father to his son and to provide for him, hoping to rekindle his relationship with the mum (Mendes). Cooper plays an ambitious policeman who knows what he wants out of his career but grows disinterested in his son, yet as the two sons grow older, both want to emulate their fathers and follow their separate paths.

Gosling’s story is arguably the most compelling. A man with hidden secrets and wayward past, his efforts to provide for his son and the mother of his child and to be a good dad are evocative, emotive, honest and captivating, and Gosling’s performance as a man trying to change and do right was delivered at his brooding best (so much so you could probably swap his character in ‘Pines’ and his character in Drive and not notice the difference, but for the quite hideous tattoos he sports here). He is ably supported by Mendelsohn (who seems to be popping up in almost everything as a supporting actor these days) as his friend, employer and mentor who talks him into his first bank robbery which ultimately sets Gosling onto his dangerous and desperate journey.

Cooper’s story isn’t quite as enthralling but it is riveting nonetheless as he becomes embroiled in a police corruption saga which we’ve all seen numerous times before. However, it’s the underlying motifs of fatherhood and also decisions and their consequences which makes it engrossing to watch, especially how in this part of the story, Gosling’s character and his earlier actions affects and dictates the actions Cooper undertakes and the events that unfold. The differences between the two characters and their two stories are not exactly subtle as they’ve obviously been created to establish such a stark contrast; cop versus robber, rich and educated versus poor and uneducated, good dad versus bad dad; so it’s credit to Cianfrance for expertly cementing his themes as the underlying foundation upon which the narrative unfolds.

The third part is arguably the weakest and focuses on the two sons themselves as they set out to get to know their respective fathers better and learn about their pasts, clashing with each other and in doing so bringing the Gosling-Cooper conflict to the boil.

It’s a fantastic tale and superbly written, the detail of each of the characters carefully attended to and thought out. With so many supporting characters and their respective subplots, and with Cianfrance’s assured direction guiding them through the story, this genuinely feels like a devoted piece of work. Cianfrance indeed demonstrates excellent skill behind the camera, not only with some scintillating single-takes and an ability to build sheer tension during moments of fast paced action, but by prying such mature performances from his cast.

It’s clear that he knew exactly what he wanted to say and how he wanted to deliver his ideas, and the breakdown of individual stories but with the continuation of his themes throughout makes for a refreshingly new and unique format. Unfortunately, he falls just short of making this format work, with the pacing and momentum frustratingly affected during each shift in the plot, particularly by the third part in which the focus moves to the sons and where we really miss the experience of the more headline cast members. This is not to say the performances were bad in anyway (DeHaan in particularly seems to be excelling in roles as the temperamental and emotionally charged wayward teen: he carried Chronicle impressively well I felt), they just weren’t quite as assured as Gosling, Cooper et al.

However, despite the issues with the pacing and it being a touch overlong, this is an outstanding character drama sensitively handled and superbly delivered. It’s a fine accomplishment from Cianfrance who continues to demonstrate an ability to really understand and know his characters, and like Blue Valentine he has again produced a real, thought provoking and emotive human story.


JMC

 
Creator of the prominent Facebook film review page JMC Reel Reviews,