Skip to main content

Guest Review: George On The Place Beyond The Pines


Ryan's regrettable tattoos

Derek Cianfrance blew everyone away with Blue Valentine in 2010. A raw and painfully accurate story of a couple’s love and love loss. Despite shattering me, it was my favourite film of the year. The Place Beyond The Pines is his follow up, this time exploring a wider spectrum of relationships within family, particularly fathers and sons and the legacy they can leave.

The lengthy opening shot channels the American master directors, Scorsese, Welles & P. T. Anderson, informing us that what we are about to see is of such calibre; an endeavour as cocky as it is noble. The film is an emotional epic triptych that doesn’t buckle under its own weight, if sometimes doing all but signpost its own structure. The film fizzles out a little towards the end, but our interest is already with the characters, we want to know the outcome even if we have spotted it a mile away. This is testament to the remarkably harsh and honest emotions and humans living before us – something that can be said about only too few film characters.

Filmmakers sometimes forget that humans do stupid things. Things that don’t make sense; people don’t always react to situation A with situation B, in troubled times quite often situation X is the route taken – not grounded in logic but something truer. Ryan Gosling plays Luke. We first see Luke playing with a butterfly knife held out by his washboard abs, covered in regrettable tattoos. The man is impulsive and reckless, his masculinity two-dimensional. Since the array of characters is as vast as the plot, visual clues like these aren’t wasted. With no hyperbole, every performance is stellar, Eva Mendes, Bradley Cooper, Ray Liotta, Ben Mendelsohn, too many to name. Even Rose Byrne’s brief screen time presents a capsule of a living, breathing life.

Sean Bobbitt’s work as cinematographer here is as astute as ever, the mood of the image marrying the story perfectly. As does Mike Patton’s brooding soundtrack, foreboding and beautiful, woven into some moments of exquisite editing.

The Place Beyond The Pines isn’t perfect, it meanders at points, and the first two thirds of the film outshine the rest, but moments of greatness are definitely throughout. This film is for the patient and those looking for an engaging and soulful experience will not be disappointed. And while the critic in me found the last moments of the film quite hammering, I – for the first time in a cinema for almost three years – all at once felt my belly tighten, my shoulders jolt and my cheeks dampen with tears.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog


Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…


According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…


Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:

HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!