HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Place Beyond the Pines
HTS Overall Score:80
Ryan Gosling has certainly shot himself to the top from humble beginnings. Several years ago I thought of him as nothing but a one note pretty boy, but he has rapidly shifted his acting gigs to movies that give him a lot more range on the silver screen. From the silent, but handsome fellow of “Drive” to the handsome playboy in “Crazy, Stupid Love” he has been able to absorb himself fully into his roles. “The Place Beyond the pines” advertises itself as a simple crime thriller, but it is anything BUT just a crime thriller. Instead of having one particular storyline “The Place Beyond the Pines” is split up into three separate, yet intertwined storylines about one particular character. While the crime itself is a major part of the plot, I’d say that “The Place Beyond the Pines” is more of a slice of life crime story, rather than a typical crime drama. There is no major moral or goal that the film tries to beat you over the head with, but rather takes a section out of time and shows how different people deal with and adapt to a certain life changing event.
Luke (Ryan Gosling), is a motorcycle stunt driver for a traveling carnival. Coming full circle to a small town he runs into Romina (Eva Mendes), with whom he had a fling with from the year before when his carnival had been there last. Hoping to see her one more time, Luke goes to her home only to find out that his previous encounter had made him the father of a baby boy. Shifting gears dramatically Luke quits the carnival and sticks around to be a part of his boy’s life. The problem is that Romina has moved on and has a boyfriend. Sticking to his guns Luke desperately tries to be a part of his son’s life. While his motivations are pure, there’s a dark almost psychopathic obsession that gives Romina pause about his involvement. Desiring to give his son everything that he could Luke turns to a life of crime and starts robbing banks and getting away in his motorcycle. As with all bank robbers, you’re going to get caught sooner or later and sooner came much earlier than expected. After a bank robbery Luke is cornered in a house by a rookie cop named Avery (Bradley Cooper) and subsequently shot in a firefight.
Avery, after having taken a bullet from Luke, awakens in a hospital with a guilty conscience and an Internal Affairs agent taking down his story. To make matters worse his wife Jennifer (Rose Byrne) is having trouble dealing with the fact that her husband is in a line of work where he may not come home to her one day. To top it off Avery finds out that some of the members in his precinct are as dirty as they come and are trying to entwine him in their machinations. Left with a choice of going along with their schemes or turning them in, he makes a heroic effort and rats out his precinct to save his honor. While his honor is saved his mind is still wracked with guilt over taking the life of Luke and depriving Romina and their child from having a father.
Fast forward 15 years and Avery has moved on from police officer to being a District Attorney shooting for the Attorney General’s position. His wife had left him and his own son, AJ, has fallen in with the wrong crowd. No longer has the attentive father he once was, Avery let himself fall prey to the cold and distant folly of a career politician. Seeing the path that his son is traveling, Avery allows AJ to come live with him at the behest of his mother. As fate would have it, Luke’s son Jason, has grown up in the same town and the two boys meet and become unlikely friends. Jason realizes who AJ’s father is from evidence he uncovered over his father’s death and the lives of criminal and cop collide in cacophony of destruction.
“The Place Beyond the Pines” took me for a loop. From the trailers and descriptions it seemed that this was going to be a Ryan Gosling vehicle, similar to “Drive” in many ways. Instead we got a three part story that gives credence to a myriad of actors and three distinct storylines (albeit heavily intertwined). Ryan Gosling again impresses us with a character almost completely different than others in his past. Losing himself in the role of Luke he plays a man on the fringe of society who feels that the only way he can protect what little family he has is by resorting to a life of crime. Dark and disturbing he’s a character that one can sympathize with and revile at the same time. There’s some good in him, but it’s tempered by a psyche that’s cracked and warped with an almost predatory undertone. Bradley Cooper’s performance was solid, but nothing to write home about. He’s a very solid actor and never lets us down, but he just didn’t feel as perfect as Eva Mendes and Luke Gosling did in their roles.
“The Place Beyond the Pines” is a fairly long movie at 2 hours and 20 minutes, but it’s a film that doesn’t FEEL that long. The first half of an hour sets the pace and tone and then the film just takes at a smooth pace. Sucking you in from the moment Luke sets out on his bike to take out his first bank, it doesn’t let you go the entire time. As one who likes a good drama I was not disappointed in the least. I was fascinated from beginning to end and to watch the theory of the father’s sins visiting the son’s and watching how their lives were changed forever, from just one ONE little chance encounter. The intertwining plots are fairly straight forward and there’s no wild twists to “surprise” the audiences, but rather , Director Derek Cianfrance allows the story to unfold naturally and let us observe how someone would react when faced with the decisions our characters faced. As a result we have a story that doesn’t seemed forced and clichéd but human and realistic (or as realistic as one can get in a movie).
Rated R for language throughout, some violence, teen drug and alcohol use, and a sexual reference
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=12179[/img]Oh my, does this look beautiful. Universal has blessed us with an absolutely fantastic transfer for us today. True to the slightly over saturated look I saw in the theaters, “The Place Beyond the Pines” looks stunning in all its glory. Resplendent in rich greens, yellows and blues, it literally sparkles on screen. As mentioned it’s a little brightly saturated with light and colors, but that gives it the sort of surreal feeling that Director Cianfrance was going for. Detail is absolutely smashingly replicated in just about every scene. You can see the 5 O’clock shadow on Ryan gosling and the most intricate detailing on Bradley Coopers police uniform. There was one or two scenes near the beginning that had a slightly soft look to them, but those scenes were brief and never to be seen from again. Whether it be in the light or in the dark, “The Place Beyond the Pines” shines perfectly. Shadows are inky and deep with fantastic detail all around without nary a hint of black crush. Contrasts are spot on and facial and skin tones are gorgeous. An incredible video encode that is just about night perfect except for those few scenes of softness near the beginning.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=12180[/img]Being that this isn’t a “crash, bang, boom” type of movie the film’s audio track is a little less perfect than the video encode. The dialogue was very well done, stuck in the center track and crystal clear. The only problems with understanding what was said sometimes springs from the mumbling of Ryan Gosling’s character and a few others with thicker New York accents. While the score was hauntingly beautiful and present during most of the movie, it was restrained enough to keep a proper balance between music and vocals with neither one nudging the other out. The film was a bit front heavy and dialogue based, so there wasn’t as much use out of the surrounds as one would have hoped for, but when used, the surrounds were used quite effectively to immerse us in motorcycle chases and the a rocking party that nearly tore down my walls with LFE. The LFE itself was smooth and clean, keeping itself restrained, but allowing for a nice low end to the movie interjected with one scene that literally made my subs light up like the fourth of July. While not an action soundtrack it was perfectly balanced and true to the scenario. An absolutely beautifully surreal score with a crystal clear dialogue based movie gives us a very well done audio track that is hampered only by its mild use of the surrounds
• Director's Commentary
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• Going to "The Place Beyond the Pines"
Like I said earlier, “The Place Beyond the Pines” is not your typical crime thriller. As a slice of life crime drama it hooks and pulls the audience and allows them to see how cause can create effect and the consequences of such effects on the lives of people around them. Serious and disturbing it is a film that I would recommend for those with the taste for a nice slow moving drama. While it may not be a film for everyone it is a fantastic character study and a glimpse into both sides of a horrible conflict. With its beautiful imagery and stunning photography I give this a solid thumbs up and would highly recommend.
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Ray Liotta, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes
Directed by: Derek Cianfrance
Written by: Derek Cianfrance, Ben Coccio
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1,
Studio: Universal Studios
Runtime: 141 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: July 30th, 2013
Buy The Place Beyond the Pines Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch it
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