Film place-beyond-the-pines-Ryan-Gosling

Published on July 5th, 2013 | by PRESENCE


The Place Beyond The Pines Film Review

The Place Beyond The Pines is a film that tries (yet still undecided whether it succeeds) at taking on three linking narratives in the space of 140 minutes. The opening narrative is about a stunt motorcycle driver named Luke who finds out that Romina whom he had a one night stand with a year ago fell pregnant with his son.  He decides that robbing banks is the fastest and easiest way to get cash to help provide for his son.

The second narrative follows the cop Avery who killed Luke during a chase as Luke tried to flee from a bank robbery. This narrative takes on Avery’s struggle with the feeling of guilt that he has developed for Romina and her son. The realisation of how corrupt his police department is during the development of Luke’s case also helps him to try and uncover some sort of justice for both parties.

The final narrative is based on AJ and Jason, who are Avery and Luke’s children as 15 year olds. Fast forwarding through this narrative, As Jason and AJ form an intensely destructive bond, Jason uncovers the truth about who AJ’s dad is. Jason then threatens Avery and takes him out to a forest to kill him. Jason doesn’t end up killing him, which leads Jason into running away and buying a motorcycle, which he rides off into the distance, to become an outlaw just like his dad.

Having multiple narratives generally appeals to me in films. I think, yay, more bang for your buck. But it didn’t quite work for me this time. From the middle of the second narrative onwards, I had resigned to the fact that the ending of the film has the potential to be an anti-climax. With this hindering my thoughts, I suddenly realised that I was becoming disinterested in wanting to pick up on certain signs that would link the rest of the film together as a whole.

From then onwards, it seemed to miss the chemistry that was passed between Romina and Luke in the first part of the film.  It attempted to redeem itself in the final narrative with Jason and A.J’s relationship, which captured my attention again, but failed to tie it all up in the end. Based on this, I think I am still undecided whether it succeeded as a film because I didn’t quite know which genre it belonged to. It deemed traits of an indie film, but through the production and marketing it seemed clear to me that it was not targeted to the appropriate indie market.

There were definite highlights, including, the crisp blue, white and yellow colour tones, and the diverse soundtrack, including songs from Bon Iver, Bruce Springsteen, and Salem. I would recommend this film if you wanted to watch something similar to Drive (2011) or another one of Cianfrance’s films including, Blue Valentine (2010) which both take on this esoteric genre.

As you can tell by this review, this film had me 1. Wanting more and 2. Not sure why I put in the effort. I can imagine this film will have a polarizing effect on a lot of people because most them will go see it for the Gosling factor and people who will actually appreciate a more obscure narrative like this will be like “I hate gosling”. So it comes down to marketing which I believe was done completely wrong for this film.

Reviewed by Poppy Granger


The Place Beyond The Pines was directed by Derek Cianfrance, (2013)


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Started in 2008, PRESENCE ZINE (originally called Presence Magazine) is a window into a lifestyle of bohemian coolness. It is for people looking for something new: bands, writers, comedy, photography, fashion designers and artists.

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