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Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The Place Beyond the Pines

As far as Ryan Gosling movies go, Blue Valentine (2010) is by far my favourite. Heck I would even throw it onto my invisible list of all time favourites. Those who have seen Blue Valentine will know that director  created an absolute gem of a movie, bringing out a riveting performance from Gosling. Derek returns with Gosling once again, showboating a frenetic drama consisting of three chapters that are pieced together over a total of 15 years.

Luke is a motorbike performer, entertaining tourists in the local circus. Walking out to an eagerly awaited crowd, Luke is clearly adored for his skills on a dirt-bike rather than his personality. Luring in the background is the beautiful Romina (Eva Mendes). Immediately we witness an evolved chemistry that spells history. While Luke is clearly fond of his own company, he can't ignore his love for Romina, considering the kid she shares with her boyfriend is indeed Luke's. Adamant to win Romina back, Luke hooks up Robin, played by the ever so brilliant Ben Mendelsohn.

Aside from Robin's generosity in offering Luke a place to stay, Robin gives Luke the chance to put his motorbike skills to good use. With the prospect of having enough money to provide for Romina and his boy, Luke agrees to rob a bank, with the assistance of Robin.

Luke's personality is bleak, with a troubled past hanging over him. This shows evidence when his hunger for more money becomes his weakness. Luke collides with Avery (Bradley Cooper); a dedicated force of the law who is struggling to cope with a level of corruptness in his department. Avery comes face to face with his morals as he is up against Ray Liotta and co, who are out to test Avery's loyalty in more ways than others. 

This is a brilliantly shot movie with dumbed down dialogue that just reels you in with every character. Watching Gosling on the bike is mesmerising, while the enormous sounds of the bike makes you feel like your sitting on the back of it!

The Place beyond the Pines is a dark focus on the choices in life and the morals you choose to take with you. While it is told over three  magnificent chapters, the final chapter is quite ordinary and strangely different. Although it is still relevant, I had to keep reminding myself that I am watching the same film.

Gosling is wonderful to watch, re-kindling an inspirational presence that will remind you of the character we adored in Drive. Bradley Cooper generates quite a serious performance this time around, in which I must admit was hard to engage in at first, but his tied circumstances helps his character to grow as you begin to love, pity and despise his presence.

While we expected nothing other than a memorable performance from Ryan Gosling, even he couldn't save the third half of a movie that was so far from what was, it became such a pain in the ass to watch.

 Its only downfall is the coincidental finale. It appeared too desperate, attempting to connect the dots over a 15 year period. Avery's jive talking son is so irritating you just wonder what on earth the writer was thinking! The extended story was still intriguing (at times), with a modern high-school step up, but was it necessary? No.  However it did stick to the generational concept of "crossing paths". The unpredictable writers of this movie continue to brag about how this "place beyond the pines" is so far from a one man show, it is willing to throw anything at you - the Eminem impersonator is proof of that, while the cheesy ending doesn't help either.

Still, the final chapter is just as watchable, and that is down to the inclusion of prospect actor Dane DeHaan,who is quite possibly the savour to what would have been a disastrous third chapter that followed an engaging first.


Look out for: Only God Forgives - May/June 2013. You can watch the trailer below

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