Title: The Place Beyond the Pines
Genre: Crime, Drama
Director: Derek Cianfrance
A recent cinema-going of American indie hopeful Derek Cianfrance’s follow-up of his breakthrough BLUE VALENTINE (2010), reunited with Ryan Gosling and recruited hot blood Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendes, but don’t be fooled by the misguiding trailer, it is not a cat-catching-mouse robbery thriller, this 140 minutes saga strenuously narrates a karma-inducing retribution epic, although it has its ponderous clumsiness during its execution, and an inclination of descending gusto may stall one’s concentration along the way, the film (not the least) did a decent job in treating its material fairly, and arduously carves out a thorough realisation of a modern-day tragedy (through a triad narrative).
The film begins with a shot of Ryan Gosling’s bulky naked upper-body before his motorcycle stunt performance, tracking under shadowy light with wobbly camera movement, markedly implying a Nicolas Winding Refn’s DRIVE (2011) analog, continues with a robbery crime under the way to ensure his future with his beloved girl (and his infant son), it’s like a redo of the said Gosling-Refn variegated palette experiment, so there must be some twist awaits, and the leverage here was whether or not it would pay off, luckily in my opinion, it worked.
When Bradley Cooper appears first time after 50 minutes more or less, the film portentously is channeled to start a new page with Cooper’s salt-of-the-earth leading man bonhomie, a standard “hero” in the plot, it also augurs the slackening of the tautness and volatility, occasionally a wisp of stolidness wafts around until the third act with a blunt 15-years-later transition, Dane DeHann (the on-the-horizon new Harry Osborn in the upcoming sequel of the rebooted SPIDER-MAN franchise) and Emory Cohen (from the TV leftover SMASH) assume the next-generation clash, but since the film lingers too long, as a matter of course, a benumbing fatigue hinder’s one’s attention to the their puerile strife, only when the tit-for-tat showdown arrives (predated with many plot-facilitating coincidences), there is a spasm of tension hanging in a moment with a satisfactory consequence the tacky mercifulness prevails again.
About the shaky-cam camerawork, now becomes stale even in the mainstream filmmaking, but Cianfrance and DP Sean Bobbitt are not wavering in difficult shots, for the opening motors-crisscross-in-the-steel-globe gambit and especially with the frenetic robbery sequences, which by the way is amateurishly perfunctory (maybe on purpose to evade copycats), the thrill is tangible while the whole tale is far-fetched.
A hindsight, the ignition of the story is triggered by a response ad lib by Mendes’ mother, so it seems that the ability to keep secret is generally considered as a foible predisposed upon female sex, an ironic discovery!