It's a sweaty, chaotic ride to The Place Beyond the Pines | Arts
Arts
INDY Week's arts blog

Archives | RSS | Follow on

Thursday, April 11, 2013

It's a sweaty, chaotic ride to The Place Beyond the Pines

Now playing

Posted by on Thu, Apr 11, 2013 at 4:27 PM

Here he is now, entertain us
  • Photo by Atsushi Nishijima
  • Here he is now, entertain us
The Place Beyond the Pines

Now playing

Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines is a tattered melodrama that reaches fevered pitches out of nowhere and ambles with confidence through its baggy plot. It’s a sweaty ride, shifting in and out of rapid speeds that come in spurts, a lot like Ryan Gosling on his getaway motorbike, zipping through Schenectady, N.Y., against oncoming traffic to suddenly curve off onto a damp side street.

Gosling, as Luke, rocks patterned pants, bleached-blond hair and corny tattoos, synthesizing a goofy demeanor with blunt intensity (his voice cracks when he robs banks) that fits perfectly into Cianfrance’s brand of opera in Dullsville.

As Luke’s partner in crime, Ben Mendelsohn limps through his scenes like an outsider artist with homicidal tendencies. Every time he shows up, the jagged tone crackles anew. If his character ever intersected with Ray Liotta’s electric bad cop, you get the feeling the screen would crack in half.

Cianfrance also does great work with Eva Mendes, but she’s always good, and—feat of feats—makes smug jock Bradley Cooper momentarily sympathetic as a skittish cop.

Without spoiling anything, there’s too much story in Pines, and any single plot line would probably work on its own as one compact movie. But Cianfrance’s slapdash way of putting them together gives his movie a roughness it needs, and the swell of characters all trying to gather some ground beneath their feet builds to a unifying idea.

Cianfrance’s movie does not have one central conflict, but everyone involved has a swarm of things they’re trying to figure out about themselves and each other. Laws are broken, boundaries are crossed, faces get bloodied. Lots of these jangly hard-luckers are trying to do the right thing, but there’s not really ever a right thing to do.

Pines goes big, maybe too big, maybe too long, maybe with a questionable story structure. It’s about circus freaks, cop corruption, fatherhood, motherhood, politics, fate and being alone in the universe. It’s a mess. But Cianfrance is really good at playing with the mess he makes. Watch the way the image jumps as Gosling races his bike through the woods, feel the sweaty palms you get during a low-stakes pharmacy robbery, check out the cloud falling over Mendes’ face as she’s put through every ringer a mom could be put through.

You couldn’t really have this thing go any other way. Its false notes ring truer than most movies’ big statements or cheap laughs, and it doesn’t wipe you clean after it gets you dirty. It says very little, but feels huge. There’s plenty not to like about it, but it never asked you to be its friend.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Pin It

Film Details

The Place Beyond the Pines
Rated R · 140 min. · 2013
Official Site: focusfeatures.com/the_place_beyond_the_pines
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Writer: Derek Cianfrance and Ben Coccio
Producer: Lynette Howell, Sidney Kimmel, Alex Orlovsky and Jamie Patricof
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Dane DeHaan, Rose Byrne, Eva Mendes, Bruce Greenwood, Ray Liotta, Ben Mendelsohn and Harris Yulin

Trailer


Now Playing

Sorry there are no upcoming showtimes for The Place Beyond the Pines

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Arts



Twitter Activity

Comments

...as did I, Ms. Margolis -- in a very small handful of moments over a two and a half hour …

by Byron Woods, INDY Theater and Dance Critic on Theater Review: The South Is Hard to Hear in the Opera Version of Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain (Arts)

I certainly heard the accents.

by Elizabeth A Margolis on Theater Review: The South Is Hard to Hear in the Opera Version of Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain (Arts)

Most Recent Comments

...as did I, Ms. Margolis -- in a very small handful of moments over a two and a half hour …

by Byron Woods, INDY Theater and Dance Critic on Theater Review: The South Is Hard to Hear in the Opera Version of Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain (Arts)

I certainly heard the accents.

by Elizabeth A Margolis on Theater Review: The South Is Hard to Hear in the Opera Version of Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain (Arts)

Nice write up. Love the twists and turns and I hardily agree with the ultimate statement (and Camus since I …

by Perry on As the Durham Bulls Enter the Playoffs, We Wonder: What Exactly Is the Value of a Minor-League Championship? (Arts)

Just saw this last night. Did Rubin say that being around the Avetts would make life "matter" or just that …

by Drew Rhys on Full Frame: An Avetts Agnostic Finds Some Faith in May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers (Arts)

She made me a peanut butter and banana sandwichwithout bread. Now that's art.

by Geoff Dunkak on ADF Review: Queering Objects and Decoding the Body in Cherdonna's Clock that Mug or Dusted (Arts)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation