Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN


May 1, 2013

Split review on the determined “The Place Beyond the Pines”

Greensburg — On the heels of the summer movie season, we finish off the spring movie run with the indie drama “The Place Beyond the Pines” (Rated R).

Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendez round out a cast that shows the interweaving lives of a criminal and a police officer over the course of fifteen-plus years in Schenectady, N.Y. Derek Cianfrance directs.

Ryan: The Place Beyond the Pines is ambitious. It’s comprised of three short stories that are thematically interconnected, spanning over fifteen years. The fact the film pulls off this narrative scope is applaudable but it is also the film’s biggest negative. It seems ridiculous for one to argue that a two-hour-and-twenty-minute movie should be longer, but I really feel this movie could’ve used a few more scenes to build up certain relationships and motivations. But don’t get me wrong, “The Place Beyond” the Pines is still a quality movie despite some of its narrative shortcomings.

Andy: “The Place Beyond the Pines” suffers from one major flaw it’s unable to overcome: It’s is far too long. Director Cianfrance takes an ambition track in trying to tell a detailed story that completely shifts its narrative focus twice. The first shift is jarring, but effective. We are suddenly not watching the story we thought we were, or rather, we’re watching the story from an entirely different point of view. It’s not the first time the trick has been tried (think of the successful pivot Hitchcock pulled off in “Psycho”) and it’s hard not to respect such a lofty attempt at storytelling. But then he tries it again, and it doesn’t work at all. Generally speaking, when a movie reaches the 90-plus-minute mark, informs the audience that it’s “15 Years Later,” and then goes on for another hour, it does not work out very well.

Ryan: Derek Cianfrance’s last film feature was the under-appreciated “Blue Valentine” (probably on my short list of this decade’s best films). “Valentine” was an extremely intense, yet resonate drama that showcased two fine performances by its leads: Ryan Gosling and Michele Williams.

Gosling’s character in “Pines” is a more perverse version of his “Valentine” character. But the more mischievous element of the character provides yet another opportunity for Gosling to deliver yet another memorable performance. Not since Steve McQueen has an actor said more by saying less.

Andy: The shortcomings of “The Place Beyond the Pines” is particularly frustrating, because it features some of Hollyewood’s most promising actors, along with a solid veteran supporting crew. Across the board, everyone does a pretty good job.

As Ryan stated, Gosling is fully embracing his Steve McQueen period, Cooper successfully builds on his newly evident acting chops, while all the other supporting players deftly fill their roles. Problem is, this movie unfolds so slowly, by the time the two-hour mark rolls around, the whole exercise feels tedious. If this had been a tight, 90-minute crime drama, it would be a much stronger movie. Final grade: C-

Ryan: Like “Blue Valentine,” “The Place Beyond the Pines” will resonate long after viewing. The themes of fathers and sons; of honor and duty; of nature vs. nurture; play out in a reverberating manner in the film. The third act might prove problematic to some moviegoers -- I get that. But overall the film strives for big things, and while it doesn’t quite attain its lofty aspirations, “The Place Beyond the Pines” is still a solid indie drama. Final grade: B.

Text Only
  • New arrivals at the library eBooksBefore the End, After the Beginning: Stories by Gilb, DagobertoThe Autumn Bride: Chance Sisters Series, Book 1 by Gracie, AnneMallets Aforethought: Home Repair is Homicide Mystery Series, Book 7 by Graves, SarahUnhinged: Home Repair is Homicide

    August 16, 2014

  • "The Expendables 3" movie poster Movie preview: “The Expendables 3”

    Plot: Commander Barney augments his team with new blood as this latest mission becomes a clash of classic old-school style versus high-tech expertise in the Expendables’ most personal battle yet.

    August 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • "The Giver" movie poster Movie preview: “The Giver”

    Plot: In a seemingly perfect future community, without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, a young man discovers the sinister secrets that hold his fragile society together after being selected to join the Giver.

    August 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • "Let's Be Cops" movie poster Movie preview: “Let’s Be Cops”

    Plot: Two struggling pals dress as police officers for a costume party and become neighborhood sensations. But when these newly-minted “heroes” get tangled in a real life web of mobsters and dirty detectives, they must put their fake badges on the line.

    August 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • ent-gb081414-Movie Boys pic 'A Most Wanted Man' This week we caught the spy-thriller A Most Wanted Man (R). Philip Seymour Hoffman stars as a German outsider spy who is attempting to facilitate the capture of high ranking terrorists, using a young Chechen muslim played by Grigoriy Dobrygin. Based

    August 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • ent-gb081414-Movie Wolf pic 'Noah' unbiblical and without charm FROM THE DEN AT HOME — The King James Bible meets J.R.R. Tolkien in Director Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah,” a movie that once more leaves me wondering what critics saw that I didn’t.To be sure, critics didn’t quite go crazy with praise for this film; a f

    August 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • ent-gb081314-new at library pic New arrivals at library New items at the Greensburg-Decatur County Library can be found and reserved at BiographiesFierce Patriot by O’Connell, Robert LCookbooksWild Fish & Game Cookbook by Manikowski, JohnFantasy / Sci-FiThe House of

    August 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Warning: A blizzard is here! Indulge with a Blizzard® Treat today, Aug. 14, and Dairy Queen® will donate $1 or more to Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health. Approximately 150 Indiana Dairy Queen locations will participate in the ninth annual Dairy Queen Mirac

    August 14, 2014

  • biz-gb080814-movie boys poster 'Guardians of the Galaxy' delivers on hype The latest super-hero movie from Marvel Studios is the outer space sci-fi flick, Guardians of the Galaxy (PG-13).In the film a rag-tag crew of space misfits reluctantly band together to stop a rebellious Warlord from destroying his enemies’ planet. C

    August 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • "Into the Storm" movie poster Movie preview: “Into The Storm”

    Plot: Storm trackers, thrill-seeking, and everyday townspeople document an unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes touching down as they ravage a town during one single, fateful day.

    August 7, 2014 1 Photo