Today: July 19, 2024

The Place Beyond The Pines

His last feature, the uncompromising Blue Valentine, took the best part of ten years to shape and shoot, requiring an enormous commitment from its leads Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling. The last two years has seen a centrifugal shift for Gosling, who has received such mammoth acclaim that it was announced at the end of March that he would be stepping away from the acting scene for the foreseeable.

He returns however for a second collaboration with Cianfrance as the elusive Luke, a protagonist brutish in build and honest in nature. From the opening scenes Luke is thrust into the very foreground of the narrative. Semi-naked bar a wealth of tattoos and flicking a knife back and forth in silent anguish, Gosling is pawing at familiar ground as he communicates primarily through those crooked, now signature eyes and we follow his cutthroat career as a motorcycle stuntman.

He is a compelling character to observe. Upon learning that he has a son with fleeting lover Romina (Eva Mendes), Luke bows out of his travelling profession to stick around and support his son. Aided by accomplice Robin (Animal Kingdom and Killing Them Softly’s Ben Mendelsohn) Luke turns over small banks, using his well-rehearsed speed to steer clear of the feds. It’s their partnership that brings the film’s sparse humour as a pair of tender crooks. “Never since Hall and Oates has there been such a team,” remarks an unbearably sweet Gosling to his friend.

The shine comes off when a heist goes foul, sending the narrative hurtling into the next of a near page-turning set of chapters. With it comes Bradley Cooper as Avery, a hard working cop faced with a bleak series of decisions and a similar family unit to provide for. Cooper’s performance proves the most interesting as he conveys a desperate man with ease, securing him a solid place among the industry’s most anticipated leading males today.

It’s the sheer magnitude of these performances that make The Place Beyond the Pines such a striking cinematic occurrence. Eva Mendes simmers in one of her most compelling performances to date, Rose Byrne strains persuasively as the distraught policemen’s wife and Ray Liotta is horrendous as a truly nasty piece of work embedded in Avery’s squad. Not to be outdone by their peers, Emory Cohen and Chronicle’s Dane DeHaan are near-hypnotic as the younger generation, fleshing out the turbulent consequences of their father’s choices.

Colliding his protagonists effortlessly, Cianfrance switches from tense, shaky pursuits to tenacious close-ups to sombre landscapes with an unfaltering eye. The meaty running time is long forgiven by the closing credits, which are incidentally beautiful, and although the motives and messages addressed aren’t groundbreaking, such is the mesmerising and thoughtful use of actors that nothing else matters.  The Place Beyond The Pines is a thoroughly impressive piece ofcinema from an understated director.

Beth Webb - Events Editor

I aim to bring you a round up of the best film events in the UK, no matter where you are or what your preference. For live coverage of events across London, follow @FilmJuice

Previous Story

The Wedding Video

Next Story

The Imposter DVD

Latest from Blog


Memory (2023)

Memory is an exquisite American drama in the tender embrace of Michel Franco’s cinematic prowess.


Following early screenings, Longlegs mania became something bigger than anyone could have predicted. After an eerie and ambiguous marketing campaign made up largely of short, cryptic teasers, hype was already pretty high

Inside No 9 Complete Collection Unboxing

Earlier this year, one of the finest television creations in the history of the medium came to a poignant conclusion after 9 impeccable seasons. Over 55 self-contained episodes, Inside No 9 made

A Bittersweet Life Unboxing

Taking a brief detour from horror, Second Sight Films have given their much-loved Limited Edition treatment to South Korean neo-noir thriller A Bittersweet Life (2005). Filmmaker Kim Jee-woon may jump wildly around

The Conversation Unboxing

Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece of paranoia The Conversation celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and StudioCanal are marking the occasion with this utterly beautiful Limited Edition 4K UHD Blu-ray release that even

Halo Season Two Unboxing

While the Halo TV series continues to be controversial with longtime ‘fans’ of the franchise for petty reasons, this year’s explosive second season certainly marked an improvement over the first. With better
Go toTop

Don't Miss

Netflix 2022 Movie Preview

This month Netflix offered up a preview of the year’s

A Star Is Born Filming Locations

Taking a trip to LA soon? Or interested in where