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Tanya Khoury: Special place
April 12, 2013
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Two years after the ever so intense Blue Valentine, Derek Cianfrance comes back as writer and director with The Place Beyond the Pines, a story that ultimately focuses on the relationships between fathers and sons. This is equally rich with talent cast, Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes to name a few. This story also focuses on community, the law and the different sacrifices that people make in their day-to-day lives. Cianfrance, with the few films I have seen of him, loves to take his time directing the premise, the pace and how the formation of the film fits together tightly. This generally takes a little over two hours and I personally don’t mind that at all. In this film, he takes us on several journeys that go on for just under 150 minutes.

The problem with talking about the actual events of the film is that I would be giving away too much. So many things happen during the first 40 minutes that set the pace for the film; I will focus on character build-up rather than exactly what takes place during that crucial time in the film. What I liked most about this title is the fact that Cianfrance shows us characters with characteristics that are very closely intertwined with our daily lives; to what end are those characters willing to sacrifice for the sake of what they hold dear? As a viewer, it opens doors to think of how all those scenarios once presented in ones actual life would be thought through. I love this about his films; he did the same thing with Blue Valentine; got us so engrossed in what we would do if given those scenarios. The writing can be very powerful and tends to creep up on you in the most random of situations.

Another aspect that held its weight in this title is the actors. I am already a sold Gosling fan, other than his few Hollywood blockbuster mishaps; in my eyes he can do no wrong; a very mature actor that, when given the right script, can work wonders with the camera. He brought a lot to the character that he played, a motorcycle racer with nothing to fear suddenly faced with a completely new perspective and a life he could not comprehend. Cooper, on the other hand, was a good surprise in this movie; I haven’t seen many films of his, just your regular run-of-the-mill Hangover titles. So in all fairness to me, I really could not measure his ability and versatility as an actor. Cianfrance proved otherwise, there is a lot of depth in the character that Cooper plays and it is quite haunting. An officer of the law, a police man in the field also living his dream, when things change in a blink of an eye and you are faced with emotions and situations better kept repressed. I enjoyed that development and felt that it was necessary for the story to take the pace it did. Lots of people around me were fidgety, which, to be honest, I no longer understand. Films nowadays never go under two hours so why the surprise?

The story is good, the acting is good and the directing/writing is exceptional, although ultimately I was more fond of the premise and the filming rather than the actual plot. This is however a film that shouldn’t be missed, only for the fact that it takes you away from regular cinema, regular Hollywood and will make you a Cianfrance fan, go see it. 7.9/10

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