Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Place Beyond The Pines: Movie Review

The Place Beyond The Pines: Movie Review

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne, Ray Liotta,  Dane DeHaan, Emory Cohen
Director: Derek Cianfrance

The Place Beyond the Pines sees Ryan Gosling once again with the director of Blue Valentine, Derek Cianfrance, who helped put him on the map.

Gosling is Luke, a bleach blonde drifter and high-wire motorcycle performer who moves from town to town with a travelling carnival. He shares a connection with former lover Romina (an unglamorous Eva Mendes) but his world is turned upside down when he realises that she's had his son while he's been gone.

With a new family thrust upon him, Luke throws in the adoration of the crowds and the uncertain lifestyle of the carny to try and provide for them. But Romina believes he's unstable and despite Luke's efforts, rejects his push to provide.

Working as a car mechanic, Luke's thrust into the world of crime by his boss (played by Animal Kingdom's Ben Mendelsohn) and takes part in a string of bank robberies. But that puts him on a direct collision course with cop Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper) and sees their lives intertwined in ways they could never imagine as the tale unfolds.

The Place Beyond The Pines is a film whose three rich narrative strands don't get pulled together until the final third - and when the realization comes, it's devastating. Beautifully shot, compellingly acted by all those within, it defies expectations as this generational tale of fathers and sons slowly reveals its hand.

Gosling, with his bleach blonde dyed locks and tortured silences impresses in a turn which hints at the pain but never fully shows it; likewise, Cooper once again builds on the stellar acting work done in The Silver Linings Playbook and an unglamorous Mendes gives an unmissably restrained turn as the mother.

But it's Chronicle star Dane DeHaan who emerges as the real talent of this piece with his fractured and damaged character shouldering way more emotional intensity than his years would suggest as the final act plays out.

Granted, it's a little overlong with its 140 minute running time, but The Place Beyond The Pines has a power and intensity that impresses. It has a haunting quality which endures and is a drama which is weighty, compelling, intriguing and an insightful reminder of the bonds which tie us together long into our years.


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