Derek Cianfrance’s new film, “The Place Beyond the Pines” is a multi-layered almost masterpiece that stays with you long after you leave the theater.
Ryan Gosling plays Luke, a drifter circus performer who after a one night stand in Schenectady New York finds out he’s a father several years later. This sets off a chain of events that stretch across a generation from father to son and then back again. The scope of this film should be applauded, but what Cianfrance does with the layers of this film is something many filmmakers would dare not try. What effects do the decisions we make ripple throughout our lives? Through our children’s lives? These are just some of the questions that “Place Beyond the Pines” dares to answer. Luke finds himself propelled into a fate that he never wanted but one he embraces with open arms, by the time he might change his mind it’s too late only by then it catches Avery Cross in its wake. Avery is played by Bradley Cooper as a beat cop who even in adulthood is rebelling against his dad, a former state Supreme Court judge, who only wants his son to follow in his footsteps. The decision that Cross makes turns him into a hero, or does it?
Can we as flawed humans even be true heroes; is there such a thing as absolute evil, or better yet, absolute good? These are all questions the film tries to tackle and Cianfrance juggles them throughout most of the 2 hour and 20 minute running time. Unfortunately instead of trying to go for something larger he wraps up the the heaviness of this film into a neat little package where everyone rides off into the sunset. That’s not a spoiler, there is still much here for you to explore, I highly recommend you see this film. It’s playing at Premiere Cinemas now and while it’s not a masterpiece it still is a great film. Don’t forget that 24 frames has moved to Saturday at 9pm right after Austin City Limits. Please check out our podcast featuring Garrison Keillor and also check out the latest 24 frames on kttz.org for 24 frames on 89.1Fm I’m Paul Hunton.