The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)

by sfe medusa

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This stylish study somehow reminds me of Steinbeck’s East of Eden with its sort of ‘saga’ atmosphere echoing throughout its beautifully disjointed story. The polished ring of the film’s structure cleverly confronts the very grey-area concept of justice, and Ryan Gosling performs outstandingly – none of the usual borderline pretension you oft feel is forced upon him by producers – with an impactful reservation that Drive failed to deliver. Bradders Coop also comes up trumps playing a man whose emotions fester agonisingly beneath the surface.

Clever camera-work (one of which is an exceptional police chase scene) induces our physical trailing after the characters, following them in paths neither we nor they can control – they are directions set by indescribable events, events we are unable to recount clearly, unable to dissect fairly, without removing our own bias. This moral blindness truly brings an irrefutable sense of magic to the film; we don’t truly understand these characters, yet we feel so strongly connected to them.
But despite the magic, for me it (sometimes painfully) reflects our real life relationships to a T. And I’m a sucker for films that capture bleak reality.

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