Starring: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Running Time: 140 mins
The Place Beyond The Pines is an American film about a young motorcycle stunt rider who turns to a life of robbery in order to support his wife and young child, however after being found out by an upcoming honest cop, his life becomes increasingly more difficult.
This film really tries hard to be original and intriguing by making some massively audacious choices when it comes to its story, and although it occasionally works out, the majority of this film is extremely slow and dragging, whilst it largely fails to capture the desperation of a story that could be so fascinating.
There are still a lot of positives here. Despite some iffy acting from Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Dane DeHaan really shine in a film that on the whole feels quite drab. The first act, where we centre on one character, seems pretentious, due to a relatively dull performance, however the following two acts feel a lot more real and alive thanks to the fact that their central actors put in much better shows than in the first part.
As well as that, some kudos has to go to the writers of this film for trying something incredibly different with regards to the story. Basically, the film is split up into three very distinct acts, with three different people at the centre of each, but rather than portraying it as a dull anthology, there are swift transitions between each one that do create unpredictability and more intrigue as you’re thrust into a whole new story underneath one central story arc. That’s no small feat for the writers, because introducing whole new central characters halfway through a film can cause serious uneasiness for a viewer, but it does work to some extent here.
Despite that, the overall feel of this film is very slow and tiring. The dialogue is incredibly quiet, and the way that each act moves along is so painfully dragging that it is tough to keep real interest in the deeper meanings of the story. Although there are some exciting sequences at the beginning and the end, it’s tough to be wholly engrossed in this film because it’s just so slow, making it so easy for your mind to wander off of a film that should warrant total concentration, and the fact that it consistently fails to keep your interest makes it so unappealing to return to caring about it at all.
Overall, this gets a 6.8, due to its painfully slow, dragging and tiring pacing, as well as some feel of pretentiousness, however it does succeed with a pair of good performances and an original choice of story.