Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Place Beyond The Pines Review

The Place Beyond The Pines Review
Before we get too far in this review, I want to note that this is going to be a short write-up. Not because "The Place Beyond The Pines" is a bad movie, its about as far from bad as a film could get. There is plenty to discuss and talk about but for those of you who haven't had the pleasure to watch this need to see it cold turkey. Be completely innocent from all discussion, all hype, all rumors, all of it. There are film experiences I can't believe I had sometimes, experiences that blindside me. I was blindsided tonight by a powerful new motion picture by director Derek Cianfrance. I was taken on a ride that felt like a huge journey across several lifetimes. This is what great film-making is all about, and I hope you all lay eyes on this brilliant film as fast as possible. 

One thing I will say though, this film is heavily marketed as a Ryan Gosling film. Its not a Ryan Gosling film. Nor is it a Eva Mendez film, or a Bradley Cooper film or even a Ray Liotta film. This isn't a movie that belongs to one actor, this is a movie that makes it hard for the audience to distinguish who the leads are and who the supporters are. This is a movie that feels like a anthology about a certain group of people. "The Place Beyond The Pines" is a movie about consequence, how are actions not only effect ourselves but the future of everyone in our orbit. It could be family, could be friends, could be people we don't know. No matter what we do, we effect everything around us. Even if we try to right the wrongs of our lives, the damage is already done. The people we effected are already effected, they have lived with it, it has molded them into the person they are. There is no turning back after the decisions we make, they stick to us. "The Place Beyond The Pines" articulates that message in huge strokes and the story that plays out is crushing but mesmerizing in equal measure.

The place beyond the pines isn't just some landscape that Luke (Ryan Gosling) rides to after learning some deep information. Its the place where Luke decides to be apart of his newborn son's life and support the woman he left so many years ago, even if that means becoming a bank robber. Its the place where Officer Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper) senses corruption in his police department and decides to end it. Its also the place where Jason (Dane DeHaan) puts a gun to the head of the future Attorney General of New York for wronging him. The place is symbolic, and each character that enters this place beyond the pines was affected by the people who were there before them, and they will cause the affects for future guests. The film paints a perfect portrait about the passing of time and how it plays in all of our lives. 

All the acting is solid. Ryan Gosling is proving with each film why he's the new Hollywood badass, Eva Mendez isn't playing the sexy femme fatale we are used to seeing and she crushes it. Bradley Cooper is also compelled to betray his old bag of tricks and play a character completely out of his comfort zone and I loved it. The rest of the cast does extraordinarily well. The rugged, rural New York backdrop only heightens the acting and the great script turns these characters into actual people given a voice by a glowing cast.

That's about all I want to say about this movie. If I spoiled the plot details, I don't think I could forgive myself. This is a movie built on emotions, and they carry this movie a long way. I could never guess where this story was going and it left me edgy. I loved that feeling and I hope you will too. I hope you enjoy everything "The Place Beyond The Pines" has to offer, and if you've seen it already? Let me know. We have a lot to discuss.

FINAL GRADE: A

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