The Place Beyond the Pines

The Place Beyond the Pines ★★★★

OK, apparently, this is directed by the same guy (Derek Cianfrance) that did “Blue Valentine” (also with Ryan Gosling) which I saw but don’t remember all that well. He seems to be considered one of the up and coming great directors. However, not really remembering “Blue Valentine” means that that’s not the reason I’ve rented “The Place Beyond The Pines “ (henceforth known as “T.P.B.T.P.”). I think I’ve got this for thee main reasons: (1) It’s starring Ryan Gosling and he is generally good and seems to be a real stickler about the roles he chooses; (2) I liked the movie “Drive” and from the previews I got the feeling that this kinda might be similar to that, and (3) I’ve heard some good podcast buzz about this. I imagine the movie’s about a circus motorbike stunt rider who get’s hired to pull off a crime (probably blackmailed to do it) and things don’t go as planned while somewhere along the line the main character falls for a femme fatale. That’s the general vibe I’ve got.
I’m surprised that I’m not all that excited about Bradley Cooper being in this. I’ve liked him in several roles recently (“Hit And Run”, “Silver Linings Playbook”, “American Hustle”, “Limitless”). And yet, from the trailers, I just didn’t get the feeling that he was an important part of this movie. We’ll just have to wait and see.
OK, I was totally wrong about this. Maybe some minor spoilers ahead so read at your own risk. First off, this movie is not starring Ryan Gosling. He’s a big part of the movie but this is more an ensemble piece with many different actors getting a lot of screen time. Second, I was totally wrong about the plot. This is not like “Drive.” “T.P.B.T.P.” is a story on a grand scale stretching over a huge amount of time. It’s also a lot heavier than I thought it would be. Considering the weight of “Blue Valentine” this shouldn’t have surprised me but I thought this might be a little lighter.
This movie has what I think of as the Dusk ‘Til Dawn effect. It’s going along and you think you have an idea of where it might be headed and then it takes a turn and it’s almost a completely different movie.
When you have a desire to watch a lot of movies you gotta take what you can get in terms of time available. Unfortunately, because the communal theatre experience is the best, I watch most movies at home (also, my town has no movie theatre). And because of that, often I’ll start a movie but I won’t finish it. Then I’ll watch the 2nd half a day or more later. Well, I’m pissed coz that’s what happened to me with this movie. I thought I had enough time to watch the whole thing in one sitting and I didn’t. I can’t really blame myself too harshly coz this one does clock in at about 140 minutes. However, having to stop this movie two-thirds of the way through totally broke the rhythm of the film for me. It’s a shame but such is life.
A real stand out actor for me in this movie was Bradley Cooper’s son. I don’t know who he is or what else he’s been in but he’s now on my radar. The guy had a serious menacing presence. I’m looking forward to seeing more of him on the big screen. This is a good movie full of really interesting twists and turns. I can’t really articulate why but it kinda reminded me of a Sam Mendez movie. I guess coz it’s full of many rich characters that flow in and out of each other’s lives. I give this a 7 outta 10.