WARNING: Spoilers. There are plot giveaways in this review. (But nothing big so stop having a cry and read the damn review!)
OFFICIAL SILVER SCREENER REVIEW
– THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES –
IMDB Rating: 7.6 out of 10 (36,524 votes)
Director: Derek Cianfrance
The Place Beyond The Pines was good. Was it great? No. Was it really good? No. It was just good. Why is that? Because the ending was overlong, boring, and with little emotion.
But let’s review this by story, of which there were 3.
Story 1 introduced us to Luke (Ryan Gosling), and gave purpose and intent to his character in seemingly no time at all. From the very first shot, one of the best shots all year, you’re thinking you’re in for a treat. The shot of the riders in the ball/cage makes for incredible viewing, and even in the leadup with the continuous shot of Luke walking through the crowd, you can spot gorgeous cinematography from your seat. The cinematography is extremely good in the film – I can’t stress that enough. It’s a beautiful film to watch, and that’s largely due to our cinematographer Sean Bobbitt, but our director Derek Cianfrance has a lot to do with it too. His personal, expansive direction style was perfect for this film, and considering he made it with such a small budget ($15 Million), he did a great job. Story 1 was by far the best story, giving us emotional insight into the characters, and giving a brilliant story. Everybody was great in the acting department; Gosling, Mendes, and Mendelsohn being the standouts with their fantastic performances. The viewing was investing, and brought you into a world other than your own – a trait all great films have in common.
Though not as good as Story 1, Story 2 was still pretty good. Not as good, but still good. Rookie cop Avery (Bradley Cooper), who intercepts an on-the-run Luke with tragic consequences, deals with the loss of life he brought upon Luke’s family. Funnily enough, it’s about one person being unable to cope with the loss of another person he only saw for a few seconds. It enhances Story 1 while creating it’s own universe – Avery’s universe. Story 2 is interesting, and more of a character study, than a fast-paced storyline. We see the characters a little more in depth than we expected, and it was good to see that. The narrative was still there, though, and moved along alright – the film as a whole had excellent narrative, and was pretty subtle. The whole corruption aspect of Story 2 was really original, and it really worked, adding intrigue to the film. Rose Byrne was just okay. All in all, Story 2 is good. It’s not great like Story 1, but it’s good.
Story 3, on the other hand, is not very good.
It tells the story of the sons of both Avery, and Luke, 15 years after the events of the previous stories. It’s a much weaker story than the others. The acting is okay, but the characters are particularly weak. Emory Cohen is annoying as AJ, and his character is the most hateable thing about the film. His counterpart, Dane DeHaan, is better, but still nothing to go on about. The story is a little uninteresting, and the whole thing is just bogged down by the two characters it’s focusing on. Actually, bogged down doesn’t do it justice. The ending is probably 20 minutes too long, and it makes the film seem like it’s going on for an eternity. I just couldn’t connect with anything going on in the last story, and the whole “drugs and smoking” thing just felt clichéd. It’s odd, too, because it’s one of the only things that is clichéd in the film; it’s one of the most original films all year. And although everything tied together PERFECTLY without a single loose strand, it was just too slow and boring for me to ever like.
The Place Beyond The Pines is still a good film. It tackles the ideas of consequences, legacy, and esteemable acts very well. Cianfrance’s direction is superb, and Gosling is arguably Oscar-worthy. That reminds me – I should probably see Drive…
The music is poor, and the pacing for the ending is bad, but that doesn’t take anything away from a largely-enveloping narrative, a visual feast, and an acting masterclass. It’s one of the most original films all year, and I’d highly recommend it; I know others will enjoy it more than I did. After all, there’s a lot to enjoy.
MY RATING: 7.5 out of 10.
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