Derek Cianfrance’s crime drama The Place Beyond The Pines is utterly compelling.
Luke is a motorcycle stunt driver who performs in a travelling show. When he returns to Schenectady, New York, he aims to reconnect with former lover Romina, who has secretly had his child. Luke’s means of providing for them will have monumental consequences to the lives of several people…
The Place Beyond The Pines ticks all the boxes in terms of being well crafted, well acted, well paced and aesthetically pleasing. Despite a running time that nudges towards two and a half hours, Derek Cianfrance’s film engages the viewer for its entire duration. The narrative progresses in a way which one may not expect, having viewed the trailer. Nonetheless, this is by no means a bad thing. The Place Beyond The Pines covers a significant timeframe, but one that evolves at a suitable pace.
Thematically, The Place Beyond The Pines is circular. The film focuses on the areas of crime, culpability, guilt and pre-destination. This themes are played out in a way which is believable. They are revisited in the film; with a feeling that some of the issues have come full circle. Cianfrance does not depict these themes as black and white, and the film is much stronger for this.
The Place Beyond The Pines is beautifully shot. Frenetic camera work, with lots of movement and a high cutting rate, is combined with slower, pensive shots. The thought that has gone into the look of the film is abundantly clear. The Place Beyond The Pines also boasts an impressive soundtrack. Ryan Gosling offers a convincing performance as Luke. Bradley Cooper is solid as Avery. Eva Mendes and Dane DeHaan are suitably cast in their respective roles.
The Place Beyond The Pines is a fantastic follow-up to Blue Valentine, and highly recommended viewing.