Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Place Beyond the Pines (2013)

The Place Beyond the Pinesthis movie is almost like "crash' with 3 diff characters and their story. 1st the story of the outlaw, then the law, then the youth. this is not really a bank robbing movie like the commercial shows, but more drama then anything else. redemption and the consequences after. this movie is great throughout. recommend highly for those who knows what to expect. ryan gosling fans will not be dissapointed.

Luke Glanton (Ryan Gosling) has a good thing going with a traveling carnival. He's got a pocketful of fame thanks to his motorcycle stuntman status and makes just enough money to get by. He meets up with Romina (Eva Mendes), an old fling, in Schenectady, New York and finds out that their one night together resulted in a little one year old boy named Kevin. Luke quits the carnival and intends to provide for his son, but Romina has moved on and is currently in a relationship with Kofi (Mahershala Ali). Luke crosses paths with a mechanic named Robin (Ben Mendelsohn) who talks Luke into robbing a few banks to get some quick cash to support his newfound fatherhood. But Luke gets addicted to the thrill of the hunt and the money and gets overzealous, which attracts the New York police department and rookie cop Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper) in particular.

Director Derek Cianfrance last worked with Ryan Gosling in "Blue Valentine" from 2010, which got a noticeable amount of attention due to its original NC-17 rating. Upon realizing that it really wasn't all that graphic, the MPAA gave the film an R-rating upon review. None of that controversy is attached to "The Place Beyond the Pines," but it certainly earns its R-rating with its constant use of vulgarity, a few really violent sequences, and the use of drugs and alcohol with an underage crowd.

The film opens with the camera following a tattooed from head to toe Ryan Gosling in a red and black bomber jacket at a carnival before he enters a steel cage ball along with his motorcycle on full throttle and his two "heartthrobs." Take note of this sequence along with how similar a sequence near the end of the film is shot as it follows another character. The crime drama is sandwiched between trailing two specific characters and countless establishing shots of beautiful pine forests and meandering roads.

Ryan Gosling seems to wear nothing but a series of tattered T-shirts, which attracts a braless Eva Mendes. You can practically feel the open air as Luke rides his bike through the woods and even when it seems like he's wandering aimlessly out in the middle of nowhere. The film is this constant juggle of intensity and raw human emotion. The bank robberies are aggressive and energetic. Gosling's squeaky threats only seem to heighten the situation. The moments where Luke is trying to spend time with his son are tender and powerful. While Luke may have traveled down the wrong path, his intentions were good. So it's this "all the wrong things for all the right reasons" kind of deal.

Everything becomes really unpredictable around the time Bradley Cooper enters the picture. Every time you begin to think that you have the film figured out it strays down a different path. Ben Mendelsohn seems to have been everywhere since "The Dark Knight Rises." His on-screen chemistry with Gosling is fascinating because it's difficult to determine whether they're bonding as friends or if it's one man taking advantage of another. You are literally entranced with Mendelsohn's deep blue eyes on more than one occasion. Ray Liotta also grabs your attention despite having minimal screen time. The Deluca character is so crooked that you can't help but enjoy his despicable nature. It was also enjoyable to see Dane DeHaan have a sizable role. Dehaan is making quite the name for himself for characters on the verge of adulthood.

Some may label "The Place Beyond the Pines" as slow and boring, but it's actually intense, methodical, and easily one of the most captivating films of the first part of the year. Not knowing where the film is going to go is a huge luxury. It strings you along this intriguing path of corruption that also touches on the price of being a good cop that is currently caught in the spotlight. "The Place Beyond the Pines" is both unique and satisfying in the way it comes full circle and is so engrossing thanks to how lugubrious it is in nature.

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Overall, I liked this movie a lot. I was hoping for it to be perfect, but it's not. Instead of writing anther lengthy review, I came up with it's pros and cons. I want to stress tho, that this is a fictional story that takes place in a real city. If this area was as bad as it is portrayed, nobody would live here, especially me!


The basic story is very good. My daughter asked me to name a similar movie and I could not think of any. It is different.

Some exciting action, despite what some people say. The cop chasing the cycle is one of the best ( and ends up being most important) parts of the movie.

Beautiful cinematography. This area really has some nice views, and they took advantage of that.

The entire movie was filmed here and in a neighboring village. No lame Hollywood movie sets as building interiors. The fairground was about 15 miles away, but still close.

Nice soundtrack! love it!

Good casting, except for AJ ( I'm sure he's a great guy, but that accent was ridiculous)

Lots of real people, real tv station, real banks, real hospital, real street names, real fairground. A treat for those of us who live here. A lot of extras ( IE news reporters and the Senator) were playing themselves.

The DA (played by Bruce Greenwood) has the last name of the real police chief. Nice touch, Mr.Cianfrance.


Its very long but that doesnt bother me that much because I still liked it.

AJ's accent ( I mean really, what WAS that?)

Too much profanity (every other word in parts is overkill)

It makes all of ours teens look bad. They arent. Yes, SOME are, but not all.

Same goes for the police.

The transition between the second and third act is lame, too convenient, and really turned me off for a few minutes. It does redeem itself,however.

They did almost nothing to make Bradley Cooper look older in the end. They did a nice job with Eva Mendes, but not Bradley.

I do recommend this film, but do not come away from it thinking that everyone who lives here is a criminal! Again, it is fiction.

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This is a story told in three parts. The first is a motorcycle rider who robs banks. The second is the police officer who stopped him, dealing with police corruption. The third occurs years later, as their sons meet as youths. This filmmaker clearly planned on making a dramatic film that would tell a very noteworthy story, and he mostly succeeds. It avoids slow pacing, and seems shorter than it's nearly 2 ½ hours. This is a strong effort from a talented young director, and features some of the best actors in Hollywood today.

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The Place Beyond the Pines is an ambitious epic about choices and the consequences of those choices, and about the relationship between fathers and sons along with how the father's decisions impact their sons.

The film's first act opens with Luke Glanton (Ryan Gosling) a famous motorcycle rider for a traveling state carnival. The man leads an empty life without any meaning besides his job and bike. That changes when Romina (Eva Mendes) an old fling returns comes to see him after a year. It turns out that Luke has a son, Jason who he had no knowledge of and has no part in his son's life. He's forced to watch as another man raise and be a part of his baptism. Luke wants to be a part of his son's life saying a son needs his father after all Luke didn't have a father and look how badly he turned out, but as it is pointed out to him by a few people he has a limited skill set so if he can barely take care of himself how can he take care of Romina and their son.

Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper) stars in the second act. Avery a rookie police officer who's been on the job barely a year when he becomes a hero after he successfully takes down Luke Glanton on his own. Avery is a very ambitious man wanting to rise to the highest level of office, and he pays the price for it when he gets involved with officer Deluca (Ray Liotta) and his fellow corrupt cops. Avery already has a guilty conscience about taking Jason's father away from him, so much so that Avery can barely look at his own son, AJ when he is forced to make a moral decision does he continue to help Deluca or does he try and bring them down all the while trying to advance his own career. Avery's and Luke's lives and decisions truly come together in the third act of the film which takes place fifteen years in the future. There Avery is running for Attorney General, AJ (Emory Cohen) is living with his divorced wife Jennifer (Rose Byrne). The troubled AJ moves in with his dad and into a new high school. There he meets a teenager at the same age in Jason (Dane DeHaan), and the impact of the choices their parents made come to light and they are left to deal with the consequences. The film ends just like it began with a young man getting on a bike and riding off into the unknown.

Derek Cianfrance's screenplay is elaborate and far reaching in the scope of the characters, but it doesn't always work effectively. In my opinion Avery's story is the most flawed of the three intertwined stories. Avery just isn't that well written of a character or he isn't fleshed out enough, and Bradley Cooper who's proven he's capable of being a great actor from his Oscar nominated performance in Silver Linings Playbook instead seems to be playing the character without any depth. Even his emotional scenes just don't hold up that well. Along with that the supporting actor's roles weren't that good. Whether it be the capable Ray Liotta and Rose Byrne or Bruce Greenwood it just seems like Cianfrance was trying to do too much with the story he had. What holds up the lackluster middle part of the film are the beginning and end of the film. Ryan Gosling has come into his own in his last few films, and outside of Gangster Squad he has given outstanding performances. Ryan delivers beautifully acted performance as he perfectly plays Luke the sadden knew father who finds hope in his son, and all he wants to do is provide for the woman he loves and his son even if it is illegal. Eva Mendes delivers her best acting performance of her career as Romina who feels guilt for not telling Luke about his son as well as conflicted emotions about his father. In a supporting role Ben Mendelsohn does a wonderful job as Robin, Luke's only friend. I think Dane DeHaan and Emory Cohen steal the film with their performances as Jason and AJ respectfully. They did a masterful job displaying emotions of these emotionally damaged teenagers. You will fully believe in these characters and the scars they display in their eyes. The script isn't outstanding, but I loved it. It does a wonderful job showing the impact fathers have on their son's and how our decisions in life always have consequences whether we see them right away or not.

Derek Cianfrance's script might not be the best, but he makes up for it as a director. Admittedly I haven't seen any of his other films, but this relative new comer does a marvelous job bring to life his vision for The Place Beyond the Pines. Cianfrance nearly perfectly directs his outstanding cast as they almost all give superb performances helping to add depth and character to his film. Beyond the Pines is simply a gorgeous film as it was filmed entirely in New York State and cinematographer Sean Bobbitt captures the essence of the state perfectly from the cities to the great pine forests. I wouldn't call Mike Patton a great or good composer from the list of projects he's worked on, but Patton does an excellent job with the score. The tone, feel and emotion of the music fit perfectly with scenes in the film. The only flaws I found in the production of the film were perhaps in the camera work being jittery and hard to follow on occasion and some of the editing decisions. Beyond the Pines is a pretty long film, and I'm sure there had to be some editing decisions made about what needed to be cut, and in certain scenes I think it shows. In my opinion those are only very small flaws that didn't take much away from the film.

Going into A Place Beyond the Pines I had high expectations. I loved the trailer, the cast and the music I heard and though the film is flawed in the middle Beyond the Pines brightens up what has been a very disappointing early 2013 in film being easily the best film of the year so far with a great cast, a really good screenplay, great directing, really good acting mixed in with a great score and beautiful cinematography. If there is one film in the early part of 2013 that I think is a must see it is Beyond the Pines, and I think it will go down as one of the better films of the year.

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