Film Critic: Place Beyond The Pines

Film Critic: Place Beyond The Pines

Nia Danielle Rutledge

By Nia Rutledge

This week I watched Place Beyond the Pines, which was made in 2012. The film was directed by Derek Cianfrance, who also directed Blue Valentine (which I reviewed a couple weeks ago). The cast consists of mainly Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes, Bradley Cooper, Emory Cohen, and Dane DeHaan. So the first three names shouldn’t be unfamiliar to anyone, because I think they are considered “A-Listers” in the celebrity hierarchy. But the other two, Cohen and DeHaan, are the next up and comers. This is the only film that I’ve seen with Cohen in I believe, but taking a quick look at his filmography says that we may be seeing a lot more of him soon. I remember watching DeHaan in Chronicle a while back and really enjoying his character in that movie, and I like his character in this one as well. I am going to have to keep an eye on him.

Place Beyond the Pines takes on this type of “this isn’t supposed to be pretty” sort of feeling, the same as Blue Valentine, so I am beginning to think that it is just Cianfrance’s style of movie directing. I really enjoy that sort of style and sad, wilting sort of movies, so I plan to watch more of his films. Anyways, I really like all the set design in this movie. It’s has a lot of different scenery, and even classic sort of settings like “the diner” seem to be done in a slightly different way that makes it stand out from the rest. I really appreciate the set design and the cinematography in Place Beyond the Pines.

This is a relatively good movie. However, I don’t think they should have chosen A-listers for the three main characters. With Cianfrance’s weary sort of films, it seems as if they tried really hard to make Gosling, Mendes, and Cooper seem tired and worn out and tried to downplay their beauty. This sort of movie doesn’t call for pretty faces, the only character that could pass as such may be Cooper’s character, but Gosling and Mendes just seem out of place and unbelieveable, despite being good actors. Sometimes people are just too pretty to be realistic.

However that doesn’t make it a bad movie. I  just think it could have been better if the main actors weren’t so picture perfect and had to be doused with old age makeup and ratty clothing to come off as realistic. And even then, they were too pretty. Nevertheless, the acting was good, as you would expect from them, and without solid act this movie wouldn’t have went well.

There are a lot of aspects that run into the film. First you have Gosling and you follow his story, then Cooper’s, then DeHaan’s and how those stories entwine with one another. I enjoy those kind of roping plotlines, I think that in this film it is done in a smooth sort of way so if you easily get lost in a plotline of  that kind, this movie shouldn’t give you too much trouble. It is really straightforward. (But, this movie is 2 hours and 20 minutes long and I had to watch it in two parts because I kept falling asleep) I think the plot does a good job at being thrilling in the high intensity moments, but it isn’t like that throughout. There are sweet moments that kind of make your heart swell and moments that are just off and your intuition is just screaming “this isn’t going to end well”. I think this film and the actors were good at portraying certain feelings, but there still wasn’t a lot of character development. I didn’t feel as if I actually knew these characters.

Overall I think this film is pretty good, not anything extraordinary, but different  from other movies in a good sort of way. It is something new. I would recommend this movie to those who have not seen it and enjoy sad, intense movies. This isn’t for those who only want good feelings from their movies. This movie is a tragedy sort of film and I would definitely watch it again.

Overall rating: 7.2/10