The ties that bind – ★★★★★
The Place Beyond the Pines is an epic film in every sense of the word, clocking in at nearly two and a half hours of which you feel every minute and should relish. The piece examines the lives of Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper exploring the fallout from their brief meeting.
Gosling is doing his usual strong silent type shtick but carries it off with such effect that you will forgo any misgivings about him being typecast He came out a few weeks back informing us that he will be taking a break from acting feeling he is becoming over exposed. So a Drive sequel of sorts called Only God Forgives and an as yet untitled Terrence Malick project which he may not even end up being in are the only other films we’ll see him in this year. Pines is a perfect example of everything that makes him adored by men and women alike. Cooper holds his own alonside Gosling coming to terms with force corruption and living with the guilt of past deeds. Emory Cohen and Dane DeHaan, who you’ll recognise from last years Chronicle, take up the baton in the third act and are more than capable of standing alongside Cooper and Gosling.
Director Derek Cianfrance has teamed up once again with Gosling having previously worked together on Blue Valentine back in 2010. It’s a pairing that works and they have delivered an all-encompassing look at the classic father-son dynamic. Gosling plays Luke, a carnie stunt rider who is drifting from town to town but when former dalliance Romina (Eva Mendes) shows up with a young child he starts to think about settling down. With little savings he hooks up with Robin (Ben Mendelsohn) and together they set about robbing banks. This is how Bradley Cooper enters the film. Playing rookie cop Avery he tries to apprehend Gosling and their brief meeting changes both their lives.
Fantastic support from the likes of Eva Mendes, a terrifying Ray Liotta and Killing them Softly‘s Ben Mendelsohn result in a strong ensemble cast. Mike Patton provides an entrancing score with a large helping of suspense on the side and the film contains a perfect closing song.
Bringing to mind the great American novels of John Steinbeck, The Place Beyond The Pines, deals with regret, responsibility and revenge. A film of three movements each woven together beautifully and certainly an early contender for movie of the year.
USA / Directed By: Derek Cianfrance / Written By: Derek Cianfrance, Ben Coccio, Darius Marder / Starring: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Dane DeHaan, Emory Cohen, Ben Mendelsohn, Ray Liotta / 140min / Drama, Crime / Release: 12 April 2013 (Ireland, UK), 29 March 2013 (USA, Canada)