The Place Beyond the Pines [2013]


Directed by: Derek Cianfrance
Written by: Derek Cianfrance, Ben Coccio and Darius Marder (based on a story by Cianfrance and Coccio)
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta, Dane DeHaan, Emory Cohen, Ben Mendelsohn, Rose Byrne

Not since Hall and Oates has there been such a team

I find it amazing that this film’s most memorable, T-shirt worthy line (“If you ride like lightning, you’re gonna crash like thunder”) was ad-libbed by Ben Mendelsohn, but I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise, considering the film itself parts from a very simple, bare-bones story and is elevated wonderfully by its talented cast and a skilled director that is just beginning to take flight.

Gosling, Cooper, Mendes and DeHaan are riveting in this sprawling epic, where the sins of the fathers become those of the sons. However, not even them are able to stop what ultimately prevents this film from being truly great: a nearly disastrous, contrived third act.

From the exciting chases and bank robberies in Gosling’s chapter, to the intrigue in Cooper’s, it all comes closely to a halt in the final chapter, where the spotlight is not on the cat and mouse, but on the kittens and pinkies. The last stage just doesn’t hold up and the tale loses focus (Emory Cohen’s exaggerated performance certainly doesn’t help things), and you wonder if a non-linear narrative would’ve solved this film’s big issue.

Or, you know, I missed the point and Cianfrance was just repeating his film’s main motif: riding like lightning only to then crash like thunder.