This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Mr_Blonde’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
"You know something Luke? If you ride like lightning, you're gonna crash like thunder." - Robin
Oh my fucking God. Woah. Holy shit. This film is amazing. This is my third Gosling film, and I think I've been very fortunate to see them in the order I have. 'Gangster Squad' was first - his role is poorly written and he's badly miscast. Okay, forget about it. 'Drive'? He's amazing, his best performance of the three. But, having seen his performance in 'Drive', I get to see 'Place Beyond The Pines' in a different light. This is one hell of a performance from Gosling. He is absolutely excellent. His alpha-male good-looks don't really suit his bad-boy, piece-of-shit character, but his delivery more than makes up for it. He is given some good dialogue, and his scenes, and partnership, with Robin were a joy to behold.
Ben Mendelsohn, who you may have seen in 'The Dark Knight Rises' as John Dagget, is superb as Robin (hehe, Batman & Robin). He's the perfect supporting character. Older, wiser, quieter, calmer, but more melancholy. Just when I thought I wouldn't see him again, I was delighted by his reappearance in the third act. I thought "Robin must be dead now or something" but no, there he was, familiar cigarette drooping out of his mouth.
The ending of the first act, the slight overlap of Gosling and the next leading man, Bradley Cooper, was amazing. So dramatic. You could hear Gosling choking back tears as he phoned Romina (Eva Mendes), because he just knew he was cornered. And, quick as a flash, he was dead. Tragedy. His scenes with his infant son were now all the more gut-wrenching.
Mendes was average as Romina. She didn't impress me, nor did she repulse me. She was just average.
The next act, focusing on Cooper's character Avery Cross, was much, much harder to deal with. It was still amazing cinema, every bit as good as the first act, and Cooper was just as good as Gosling, but where the first act had been fast-paced, free-flowing and entertaining (what with all the chases), the second act got deep into the nitty-gritty of dirty cops. It slowed the whole thing right down. I was glued to the screen, but a part of me didn't want to watch such gruesome scenes. You may be asking yourself "How was it gruesome? There was no gore or anything". Well, I just found that whole thing to be so powerfully unnerving, it seemed repellent. Not in the sense that I didn't want to watch, but in the sense that it was hugely moving cinema.
The third act, in my opinion, started to lose its way a bit. AJ and Jason were complete assholes. So was Luke, but it was easy to sympathise with Luke. It was just impossible with these two fucking idiots. Arguing and fighting, getting each other into trouble, etc. It was just unbelievable. Unrealistic. A good guy like Avery would not have a douchebag son like AJ. He would have raised him better. And a good woman like Romina, sobered by her experience with Luke, would have raised Jason better. So, for them to be drug addicts, just didn't wash with me. Still, hugely moving and soo sooooo dramatic, when Jason visits Robin, and when he takes Avery to the woods, amongst the pines. The ending was a really clever idea. For Jason to leave like that, following in his father's footsteps, or bike-tracks, was genius. It would work, if not for the fact that Jason's a cunt and Luke isn't, and Dane DeHaan can't act.
One thing that must be understood is that this film is completely up its own ass. It's pretentious as fuck. Still, this is one amazing film. The dialogue is good, but there isn't much in the way of quotable dialogue. I just finished watching it, and the quote I went with at the top is the only one I can really remember. The soundtrack is totally boss, by the way. Dancing in the dark by The Boss (Bruce Springsteen) was a great choice for Luke and Robin's little victory party. Also, it was totally badass, that Luke says "There hasn't been a better team since Hall and Oates" and then later, when Avery's in the car 'Maneater' by Hall and Oates is playing. Genius.