Maksim's Review of The Place Beyond The Pines
The Place Beyond the Pines is a complex and demanding drama, which pleases with its emotional load, splendid performances and raw, dramatic realism. Delving deep into issues of fatherhood, responsibilities, redemption and faith, this movie is another challenging and unorthodox delivery by Derek Clainfrance. Quite uneasy to follow, too slow and not always to the point, The Place Beyond the Pines is a movie meant for audiences which are looking to be challenged without any certainty of being rewarded.
After stunning the world with the unbearably painful Blue Valentine, expectations for director Derek Clainfrance's next movie were extremely high. Happily, with this movie he may not have managed to exceed them, but at least matched them. The Place Beyond the Pines is the same slow, emotionally loaded and perplex movie as Blue Valentine. This time the story does not have a certain focus and the movie is actually divided into two parts separated by 15 years. The main focus of Derek Clainfrance is not the story itself, but the issues which he raises. The questions of fatherhood, father-son-relationships, faith and the depiction of consequences of our actions are wrapped in extremely stylish and a bit overly pretentious settings and atmosphere. Without having being the same emotional punch as Blue Valenting, The Place Beyond the Pines seems slower and more unfocused. The twists in the narrative (especially in the second half) ensure that the movie does not turn into an unwatchable art-house delivery, but damages the whole feeling about the movie.
The second collaboration between Clainfrance and Ryan Gosling seems more unfocused when it comes also to performances. In spite of the fact that the two parts of the movie are having the same actors, both parts emphasize on different members of the cast and that deprives the audience from fully experiences the characters' dreams, emotions, fears, thoughts. Still, the performances are brilliant. Ryan Gosling as Luke has already become part of my "favorite actors" list and Bradley Cooper as Office Avery delivers another surprisingly strong and thoughtful performance. Admirations should also go to Eva Mendes who succeeds to bring an emotional and vibrant performance as the mother of Luke's baby; a mother who finds herself in the middle of bad decisions taken by the people surrounding her.
As a whole, The Place Beyond the Pines is a must see delivery for the lovers of thought-provoking cinema. With Derek Clainfrance's excellent direction, this initially complex and slow movie becomes an ambitious and relatively satisfying dramatic delivery. With this movie Clainfrance establishes himself as a director whose projects will be expected with huge interest.