Ryan Goslingt in The Place Beyond the Pines

Review: The Place Beyond the Pines

Following the critically-acclaimed Blue Valentine, the 20FF team fought each other to review The Place Beyond the Pines. James won the battle. It’s time to see his spoils of war.

Before I get into my review of Derek Cianfrance’s, The Place Beyond the Pines, what the flipping heck are you doing reading this? Go to your nearest cinema right now and watch this movie! Seriously, it’s incredible.

Right, now that you’re back, let’s go on.

The film is in three parts or chapters spanning about 17 years, following the relationships of two families: that of Handsome Luke, Avery Cross and their respective sons, Jason and Avery.

The film begins with Handsome Luke (Ryan Gosling), a carnival motorcycle stunt driver, drifting from town to town. He discovers his ex-lover Romina (Eva Mendes) is raising his baby boy, Jason. Luke wants to be there to provide for his son so he quits his carnival job and tries to win back Romina from her new partner and sets himself on a course that cannot end well.

The first part by far the strongest. The motorcycle stunts are simply phenomenal, executed by Rick Miller who did all the bike stunts in Christopher Nolan’s Batman films.

The robbery scenes in the film are shot in a beautifully single take. With all the extras being real bank tellers and non-actors, these scenes become some of the most incredibly realistic and tense robbery sequences I’ve ever seen.

The middle section follows Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper) a family man with a boy the same age as Luke’s son. Avery is struggling through a world of corruption in the police force lead by the genuinely scary Deluca (Ray Liotta).

This chapter does drag in comparison to the strong opening, but the beautiful cinematography, seamless storytelling and powerful performances from all the cast more than make up for it.

Finally, 16 years late, AJ (Emory Cohen) meets Jason (Dane Dehann). The two of them hit it off but once AJ’s father is made aware of Jason he forbids contact between them, but Jason discovers things about his past and family, leading him on a journey that will change him forever.

Everything about it this film is well crafted making it a really engaging film to watch. The performances, especially from the two leading men are truly outstanding.

It is heart-warming, exciting, tense; a beautiful piece of filmmaking. If you’re looking for a superb cinema experience, give The Place Beyond the Pines a go. You won’t regret it.

★★★★☆

James Salver

The Place Beyond The Pines is out now.

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