Review: The Place Beyond The Pines
You've just gotta go see this...
A lot of films with multiple storylines like to play out each one at the same time until they meet either at the middle or end of the film (think Crash or Bobby) while some jump back and forth and disregard a consistent narrative timeline (Pulp Fiction).
The Place Beyond The Pines, however, tells three different stories in order, and focuses on each one before introducing the audience to the next one.
It is impressive, and this narrative style adds to an excellent story and cast.
Ryan Gosling, reuniting with director Derek Cianfrance after Blue Valentine, plays stunt bike rider Luke, whose simple carnival life is turned upside down when he learns that he has an infant son to ex-girlfriend Romina (Eva Mendes).
He becomes dead set on providing for his child, and uses his motorbike skills to perform bank robberies.
Bradley Cooper is police officer Avery, who struggles with moral issues surrounding his corrupt department and his sympathetic connection with Luke and Romina.
Finally, Emory Cohen and Dane DeHaan are cast as the sons of Luke and Avery 18 years on as they discover the connection their parents have and how this affects their newfound friendship.
The casting in this film is close to perfect. Gosling, Cooper, Cohen and DeHaan all show the serious moral dilemmas their characters are going through.
Gosling is a tour de force. He shows both aggression, fear and weakness in his performance, particularly in the bank robbing scenes.
DeHaan is also spectacular, following up his star role in Chronicle with a character also mentally scarred and fearfully impulsive. Mendes, Rose Byrne and Ray Liotta all give credible supporting performances too.
This is not an action heavy film, but there are still a lot of tense scenes. Characters fight others both physically and verbally, which helps to reflect just how difficult the struggles are in this film. It is always nice to find a film that moves along at a fast pace, but without the need for expansive action scenes.
The soundtrack by Mike Patton (of Faith No More fame) draws out the tension and struggles in this film, as well as complementing the beautiful cinematography and softer moments.
This film throws up a lot of moral questions, and shows the consequences of the characters' actions. Wonderfully told, beautifully shot and well performed. The Place Beyond The Pines is one of the highlights of the year so far.
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