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The Place Beyond the Pines (2013) Movie Review

December 23, 2013

I was ready to give up on this movie after about forty minutes the first time I watched it. Of course I don’t write reviews of movies I haven’t finished. This is the perfect example of why.

Unlike some movies that progress in a predictable way, “The Place Beyond the Pines” takes a few unexpected turns. The first such turn takes place about five minutes after I first gave up. Thanks to some urging from fellow bloggers I did eventually finish the film. Thankfully I hadn’t returned the Netflix disc yet (or sealed it).

The first forty minutes or so of the film explores the character of Luke (Ryan Gosling) as he does what he can to provide for the son he discovers he fathered. Though Ryan Gosling does a great job in his role, I had a few problems with his character and the choices he made. It is important to pay attention to his development though for reasons that become clear later.

Once Avery (Bradley Cooper) is introduced, the film takes a big shift in tone. Though I was somewhat engaged before, I suddenly got sucked into the world much further.

What makes the film so interesting is the way in which it blends stories together and explores a long window of time. The story doesn’t end anywhere near where you might guess and that is part of why it is do impressive.

Musically, the film has a solid score by Mike Patton that captures the mood wonderfully. Some of the song choices were a bit more distracting. Though I can understand why the hip hop shows up near the end, some songs used in the first half were quite annoying and should have been left out.

“The Place Beyond the Pines” is an engaging character drama even though I never really got into Luke’s part of the story. It explores the paths people take through life and the impact having a son can have on the choices of their fathers.
4/5

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From → Drama

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