#REVIEW: “THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES”
Guaranteed, you’ve never seen anything quite like it. Fans of 2010’s ill-fated Blue Valentine, Writer/Director Derek Cianfrance‘s heartbreaking ode to falling in and out of love. He raises the bar way high in this sophomore effort, effectively giving us three Movies in one with The Place Beyond the Pines, the linear Story of three Men whose fates were sealed hermetically by one defining moment. The gritty Drama is a study of Action and Consequence, fluidly stringing their stories together full circle.
Cianfrance reunites with his male Muse in Ryan Gosling as Stunt Bike Driver Luke, whom we see turn to the dark side after struggling financially, turning to Crime to support the Woman he loves Romina (Eva Mendes) and also his previously unknown Son. An eager and ambitious Rookie Police Officer Avery (Bradley Cooper) crosses paths with Luke in a high-speed chase, halting his Master Plan to start a new life for himself.
The Story takes an unexpected turn when Avery is awarded for his work, but then finds himself tangled in a web of Corruption within the Schenectady Police Department, threatening not only his job but also his life. Flash-forward 15 years, we come to know both A.J. (Emory Cohen) and Jason (Dane DeHaan), Sons of Avery and Luke respectively who under fateful circumstances are brought together, forced to reconcile their Fathers’ pasts once the truth is discovered.
Clocking-in at over 135 minutes, The Place Beyond the Pines is a bit of a modern-day Epic, but Cianfrance does a fine job drawing us in with Gosling’s irrepressible fire, pacing it perfectly with Cooper’s internal torment and switching-it-up again a couple gears with DeHaan’s wonderment and discovery in the third and Final Act. You never quite know where this unconventionally-told Story is headed, but all we know is that we want to go where it chooses to take us.
Mendes solidifies herself as Leading Lady-worthy, sacrificing her obvious vanity in perhaps her most affecting performance to date; her chemistry with Gosling is uncontainable. In addition to a breakthrough performance from hot new talent DeHaan, 23-year-old Cohen as Avery’s Son, stamps himself as a name to look-out for in an unforgettable performance and Australian Ben Mendelsohn is undeniable, completely transforming once again with chameleon-like versatility as the lonely Robin, Luke’s Partner-in-Crime.
Truly “beyond”. eOne Films releases The Place Beyond the Pines on April 12, 2013.