Saturday, January 19th, 2019

The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) analysis review

Posted on February 03, 2017 in Arts & Culture
By USM Free Press

By: Dan Kilgallon, Free Press Staff

The Place Beyond the Pines (R)

Run Time: 140 mins

The Place Beyond the Pines does not refer to the lovely state of Maine, but rather, to the setting of one of the most underrated movies of 2012. Directed by Derek Cianfrance, this independent film takes place in the city and outskirts of Schenectady, New York. While it may have slipped under the radar due to its relatively limited release in theaters five years ago, this movie is definitely worth a watch. The distinct setting is just one of the many factors that makes The Place Beyond the Pines stand out in a film year that was dominated by blockbusters such as The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises.

The Place Beyond the Pines features two leading performances from a pair of Hollywood’s finest actors in a manner that truly drives the story of the movie. Ryan Gosling stars as Luke Glanton, a popular local motorcycle stunt driver who travels as part of an act for the state fairs. Bradley Cooper co-stars as a rookie cop named Avery Cross in one of his finest roles to date.

The Place Beyond the Pines has three distinct acts that provide the story’s backbone. The first two acts evolve entirely around one of the lead characters, beginning with Luke Glanton’s narrative and continuing with Avery Cross’ time working in the police force. The third act concludes the movie by incorporating each of these men’s sons into this dark, yet powerful story. Dane DeHaan portrays Glanton’s son, Jason, while Emory Cohen plays Cross’ son, A.J. Each of these gifted actors delivered breakout performances far superior to most acting done by young talent in Hollywood today.

This cinematic gem contains some themes that can only be fully understood through attentive viewing. The Place Beyond the Pines is centered around the idea of the father-son relationship, and highlights the unbreakable bond between fathers and sons, as well as explores the long term effects of parenting. In the film, poor decisions were made by several different characters, and their choices ultimately came back to haunt them. Without going too much further than that, it is fair to say that The Place Beyond the Pines does an exceptional job of illustrating how many decisions that we make as human beings can affect us in a major way at any given point in our lives.

The Place Beyond the Pines is absolutely a must-watch for any fan of independent filmmaking or good movies in general. Along with impressive cinematography and fresh storytelling, this movie showcases some incredible acting performances that really tie everything together. The film proves that Ryan Gosling is more than capable of playing characters outside of cliche heartthrobs in movies such as 2004’s The Notebook. This was also one of the first times in which Bradley Cooper shows some legitimate range as an actor. He’s come a dramatically long way since his hilarious role as Phil Wenneck in 2009’s The Hangover. All of these things considered, The Place Beyond the Pines is certainly worth the time for any movie fan who has a chance to watch this overlooked 2012 masterpiece.

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