Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The Place Beyond The Pines (2013)

Though far from perfect, Gosling makes The Place Beyond The Pines unmissable.

PLACE BEYOND THE PINES 2013 eva mendes ryan gosling
"If you ride like lightning,
you're gonna crash like thunder."
At a glance:
Imbued with all the ambition and class of a modern classic crime epic, Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance reunites with the enigmatic Ryan Gosling in The Place Beyond the Pines (2013), a flawed but fabulous fable steeped in heavy themes of guilt and redemption. It's the kind of movie you don't take your eyes off for even a minute, as a long take openin trackin shot majestically promises. We're let in on the moral struggles firstly through carnival motorcycle stuntman Luke Glanton (Gosling recallin some touches of Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive), who reluctantly starts robbin small banks with a newfound handyman friend (Ben Mendelsohn) when he discovers he has a year-old son with his one-time fling (Eva Mendes). The decidedly unpolished narrative avoids cheap emotions throughout and the first act especially posits all the hallmarks of an unforgettable story with a lead character so excitin, he deserves an origins sequel.
Bad news on the doorstep:
So Emery Cohen is supposed to be the son of Bradley Cooper & Rose Bryne
while Dane DeHaan is supposed to be the son of Ryan Gosling & Eva Mendes?
Bradley Cooper goes Serpico in The Place Beyond The Pines.
In a clear case of peakin too early, the momentum splutters by the time we meet Bradley Cooper's co-protag in the second act, a cop character with neither the charm nor the complexity to meet the emotional continuity revved up earlier by our ever-so-watchable rebel robber. This is likely to be a miscast than a character exposition problem but by the third act when we're introduced to their respective teenage sons in a 'sins of the father' story arc, things turn weary and even slightly contrived when we realise the actors (Emery Cohen and Dane DeHaan), through no fault of their more than adequate performances, look very little like who they're supposed to be descended from; an unfortunate development that does undo a lot of the magic in this movie, like the breathtakin camerawork and sublime score by Mike Patton. Several set pieces are beautiful and production values are top-notch but one would suspect the director has several regrets he'd admit to himself with the final cut.
Perennial wonderment:
This character deserves an origins sequel.
Are they gonna use Bon Iver's The Wolves (Act I & II) for every movie that seeks to end on a convalescent, resonant note? I'm still high from watchin and hearin its first use, in the closin scene of the beautiful French drama Rust And Bone (2012). Shoegazers forever!
Reminds me of:
Animal Kingdom (2010), A Bronx Tale (1993), and Prince Of The City (1981) come to mind when I think about crime epics with some pedigree.
Ben Mendelsohn can't put a foot wrong.
Watch out for:
Eva Mendes successfully makes herself thin and haggard for her trashy role and Ray Liotta has a more useful run-out here for a change, in one of his usual villainous turns, but Ben Mendelsohn steals the show as the world-weary accomplice and friend. Check out his chops in Beautiful Kate (2009), Killing Them Softly (2012) and Animal Kingdom (2010) if you wanna see what he can really do besides his small part in The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
Only God forgives... if you tattoo a dagger on your face.
Most memorable line:
"If you ride like lightning, you're gonna crash like like thunder."
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Would've been movie of the year if not for a few false notes in there. Still, it's a family affair about honour and duty that's certainly artful and intimate enough for a rewatch. Check out this interview with the director if you wanna know more about the movie and also that incredible openin long take. Movin on, can't wait for Only God Forgives (2013) in summer!★★★1/2
Bonus material:
No woman, no cry... Ryan Gosling style.

Director Derek Cianfrance flanked by Ryan Gosling and Eve Mendes.
Bradley Cooper with director Derek Cianfrance.
Memories are all we have.