Prepare yourself, this film is amazing on multiple levels. First, it's amazing that someone even tried to tackle a project like this. Director Derek Cianfrance's follow up to 2010's Blue Valentine continues exploring the dynamics of dysfunctional families. While his last film was about the woeful dissolution of a marriage, The Place Beyond The Pines highlights the relationship (or lack thereof) between fathers and sons, spanning across three generations.
The cast, led by Gosling and Cooper, deliver outstanding performances. Eva Mendes, Ben Mendelsohn, Dane DeHaan and a uber sleazy Ray Liotta are especially noteworthy. It's amazing that someone as beautiful as Mendes (or Gosling...or Cooper) can appear so believably haggard and run down over the course of a movie like this. Gorgeous actors, coupled with astonishingly beautiful shots of Upstate New York's wilderness, saturated with tremendous amounts of grief and melancholy to the point where they're no longer pretty...just sad. My boy Mike Patton's score for the film only accentuates the emotional beatdown that transpires onscreen. Good (in a morose kind of way) stuff there.
As awesome as this film's trailer is, don't fall into it's trap. It's more akin to The Godfather than Heat if you catch my drift. Is The Place Beyond The Pines perfect? Definitely not. Is it a challenging and ambitious film that deserves both praise and discussion? Totally. Props to Derek Cianfrance for even trying this one, but congratulations for it coming together so well.