Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Place Beyond the Pines

For the most part I had ignored the films being released the last couple months and found it most fitting that I decided to return to the screening of films in the wake of the great Roger Ebert's passing.  As the final film reviewed by Roger Ebert before his death, "The Place Beyond the Pines" comes to theaters in time to "shake up the cinematic doldrums of early spring".  How true that statement is. 

"The Place Beyond the Pines" reunites Derek Cianfance and Ryan Gosling, with whom he worked on "Blue Valentine" (2010).  The film is a very ambitious attempt of taking two of the top leading men and having them only in once critical scene together.  Without giving away too much of the plot, which trust me you don't want me to do, the film can most easily be described as three smaller films that is slowly and methodically told in a linear format.  It is a simplistic story about romance, masculinity, and above all else fatherhood.  If one moment defines your life, then one decision can become your legacy. 

In the opening sequence you get a long shot that shows the trust that director Derek Cianfrance has in Ryan Gosling and the art of using a camera.  As Ryan Gosling walks out of his trailer and puts on a leather jacket, I wanted it to be a white leather jacket with a scorpion on it, but instead this time he is wearing a red jacket.  With the long shot I was trying to figure out if it was actually Ryan Gosling on the motor cycle as a stunt driver.

Eva Mendez plays the old flame that is reintroduced into the life of Ryan Gosling.  The revelation that Eva Mendez has for Ryan Gosling gives him doubt as to if he wants to continue the life that he has or take on a greater responsibility that he may not be entirely prepared for, which leads him down a dark path.  Bradley Cooper gets intertwined into the story as a cop that is also forced to decide what is right in a corrupt police department.  Dane DeHaan, who immediately reminded me of his performance in "Lawless" is a troubled teen that is struggling with his place and identity. 

Rose Byrne gets lost in the film and I feel that a scene may have been cut out that would have better explained the relationship between her and Bradley Cooper.  However, someone who doesn't get lost in such a small role is Ray Liotta who as a dirty cop makes your skin crawl.  Ryan Gosling is clearly avoiding the Hollywood machine and taking on the more challenging roles and is just as easily met by the performance from Bradley Cooper who might even be a sleeper for an award later in the year.

I implore everyone to go see this film with their father as it is one of my early favorites for the year.  The film is a real human drama at the deepest level of human emotion.  It combines the beautiful cinematography of "Blue Valentine" and "Drive", but easily stands on its own.  While I feel the individual performances are greater than the film as a whole, it should still be considered a 4 Quack film. 

1 comment:

  1. roger ebert didn't review the film. there are a couple of reviews on his site, but neither of them are authored by him. one is by richard roeper (4 stars) and the other by simon abrams (1 and a half stars).

    i agree with roeper. i wish roger had a chance to see this great film before his passing though. not too many great movies are released this time of year so it would have been nice for him to see this as one of his last.


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