The Place Beyond the Pines

The Place Beyond the Pines ★★★★½


The movie feels so rich and textured that it would be easy to believe that this story was pulled from a classic novel, and updated for a modern perspective. But it wasn't. This was a wholly original creation by writer / director Derek Cianfrance. And it is stunning!

Told in three chapters as such, the basic plot of the first chapter is about a carnival worker who begins robbing banks to support his estranged son and former hookup. The second chapter is about the cop who is after the robber, and the corruption in the police. I won't talk about the third chapter, because much of it would be too spoilerific. But let's just say the film goes in a totally different direction in its final third. A direction that I see is bothering a lot of people. I understand their criticism, but I feel like the closing of the film made for a perfect summary of the themes of the movie.

This film set deep into my bones. It's expressions of father / son relationships was very powerful to me. I like that everyone in the film had both a good and a bad side to them. I changed who I was rooting for several times during the film.

The cinematography was stellar too. We follow behind a lot of characters on different occasions. This is a visual motif that is used by a lot of people, but here Cianfrance has a purpose for it. He uses it to show the inter-connectivity of his characters. How they all make similar decisions and mistakes.

Mike Patton of the rock group Faith No More did the score for the movie, and I think it is a thoughtful and beautiful accompaniment to the movie.

I could continue to shower this movie in generic praise, but I'll stop. I expect this to be a front runner for my "best of" lists this year.

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