Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Film Review: The Place Beyond The Pines (2012)

The Place Beyond The Pines (Review)
United States/2012
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...as far as the wide theatrical releases of 2013 so far, this is the best."

Luke Glanton (Ryan Gosling) is a local celebrity as Handsome Luke -- a daring motorcycle stuntman turned bank robber to support his newfound son. Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper) is a low-ranking beat officer turned hero caught in a corrupt system.

The Place Beyond The Pines is a very effective crime drama. The less you know the better. That's not to say it's a twist-filled story, but it's a better film experience if you avoid reading about it beforehand. Luke and Avery's stories interlink to create a large saga of crime -- a tale of crime from both sides of the law. Luke, a career criminal, wants to support his newborn son; without a job or opportunity, Luke takes up bank robbing. Avery is a low-level, over-qualified patrol officer, subconsciously looking to move up; also hoping to keep his worried family intact, and to come home to his infant son. A significant event in both their lives leads to corruption, pain, and change. From there on, the ethical battles within continue. The ending of the film is superb -- bittersweet without pushing too far as to alienate sensitive audiences.

The story relies on its dialogue. Luckily, the dialogue is engaging and immersive; it's the type of dialogue that keeps you involved and invested -- the type of dialogue that keeps you at the edge of your seat. The film's themes consists of family, fate, and ethics. There are moral dilemmas that make for unbearably tense exchanges -- gripping, powerful moments of good vs bad; and, there are many, many moments like this, which are perfectly executed. There are three stories that interlink -- all of these stories are related and have minimal filler. With that, the film moves at a very well balanced pace, holding on to its momentum from beginning to end; in fact, the film was over before I knew it. The runtime is surprisingly forgiving, so if you're avoid movies due to their possibly inflated runtimes, know this film uses its runtime wisely.

Ryan Gosling is fantastic as Luke. He shows a lot of emotion -- from subtle sadness to genuine happiness -- and shows unexpected energy in his bank heist scenes. Bradley Cooper is equally impressive with his performance -- you can see the the look of uncertainty and disbelief in his eyes, really capturing a man trapped in an ethical battle. Ray Liotta also delivers a brilliant performance that supports the second act of the film; his performance was genuinely impressive. Derek Cianfrance direction is fantastic as he creates a very unique and immersive atmosphere, and pulls so much from his cast. The cinematography captures the mood of the film. Better yet, the music compliments the haunting subject-matter of the film; the soundtrack is ominous and bleak, yet elegant in its tones.

Overall, The Place Beyond The Pines is a fantastic crime drama; a drama that justifies its runtime through its incredibly involving and entertaining story; a film that excels in its acting, direction, music, and cinematography. Don't miss out on this film -- as far as the wide theatrical releases of 2013 so far, this is the best.

Score: 10/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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