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The Place Beyond the Pines - quick review

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#1 of 7 ONLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted April 29 2013 - 06:09 AM

I don't really know how to review this movie without giving many plot points away, maybe I'll just give out some details of the 1st act, but leave the rest alone.


Ryan Gosling plays Luke, a good-looking motorcycle stunt rider, but without much else going for him.  He has a quick fling with Eva Mendes' character, Romina, who gets knocked up, but doesn't tell Luke because Luke just treated their hook-up as pretty much a one-night-stand.  A year later, Luke is about to leave town, but finds out about his son, and decides to stay in town and provide for his son, but he lacks the skills to earn a legit living, so he turns to bank robberies.  Suffice it to say, it's a brief career for Luke, and he encounters rookie cop Avery (Bradley Cooper) after being chased from a bank robbery.  The rest of the film takes some eyebrow-raising turns.


Ultimately, I didn't like the broad strokes that played out in the last half of the film, and the characterizations felt a little lacking to get to the conclusion, so that downgraded the film for me somewhat.


I give it 2.75 stars, or a grade of B-.

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#2 of 7 ONLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted April 29 2013 - 08:22 AM

As someone born and raised in the general area that this movie was shot and set in, there was a lot of fun in spotting local landmarks and the like. The production did a really good job getting the little details right, from the statue of liberty New York license places on all of the vehicles during the sections of the movie set in the mid-nineties to the old and new News Channel 13 graphics that are exactly like the real station's graphics then and now.When you get out of the city, the Capital Region has a lot of great country drives and the movie's cinematography really captured that well. It's a beautifully photographed film generally, with a great contrast between the rust belt grime of Schenectady's declining fortunes and the lush shroud of the forests and mountains beyond.I liked the idea of the sins of the father being revisited upon the son, but I thought the film really stretched to get there. Like Pat, I don't want to spoil anything, but the last third of the movie set in the present day felt increasingly contrived.

#3 of 7 ONLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted April 29 2013 - 08:36 AM

Fair warning, there's a bit of shakey-cam in the film, so it might make you nauseous, mostly in the early part of the film.

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#4 of 7 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted April 29 2013 - 05:41 PM

I saw this one last week.  I thought the first story was downright brilliant.  I loved every single second of it and thought Gosling was wonderful (as was Mendes).  The score was marvelous and I thought the father-son relationship was something that really worked.  The second story was very good but there was just something missing or perhaps it just wasn't as strong as the first story so it felt like it was lacking something.  The third story was interesting but I think it became a bit too predictable and I just don't think it had that emotional punch that it was going for at the end.  I thought the end of the first story had that punch but it was needed at the very end and it was simply lacking.


Still, I'd go *** 1/2 on it as the performances were great and it's rare to see this type of film work.

#5 of 7 OFFLINE   TravisR


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Posted April 29 2013 - 06:40 PM

I saw this a few weeks back and I knew almost nothing about it (I had seen a photo of a tattooed Gosling riding a motorcycle, knew that Eva Mendes was in it and that was it) so I was shocked when the first story ended. At that point, I was also surprised by how short the movie was :). The first two sections of the movie worked very well but by the time the third part started, it felt like the movie was over and there was still 45 minutes left. That being said, the last section of the movie is probably the most important since it shows the effects of people and parents' actions on their children even over a long period of time.


Well worth seeing just to support something different than the normal movie.

#6 of 7 OFFLINE   DaveF



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Posted May 01 2013 - 05:48 PM

"The Place Beyond the Pines" is an uncomfortable experience, and not worth watching.




Act One

The movie begins with Luke, a carnival performer, a motorcycle rider who does intricate patterns in a spherical cage. On an annual return, he finds he has an infant son from last year's fling. He immediately quits the carnival to settle down and find some way to support his kid. But what starts as an interesting story of an unexpected father, played well by Ryan Gosling, veers into the absurd. Trail-riding amongs the oak and ash trees, he meets up with a local loner, who takes in him, gives him a low-paying job as mechanic, and his trailer to stay in...and then explains that he robs banks, and wouldn't Luke like to do a couple of jobs with him to support that son of his.


Luke is shown to be wholly unlikeable. He's violent, and immediately turns to armed robbery to solve his money problems. 


The bank heists are preposterous. Luke is shown as this vagabond like fellow riding a cheap dirt bike around town without a helmet. He stands out. A week later, there are "moto bike" robberies in town by a fellow on a cheap dirt bike. No one can figure out who did it. It fails as a plot line. And then he is killed by a green cop during a robbery gone bad.


Act Two

The green cop, Avery, played by Bradley Cooper, is hailed as a local hero, and is immediately pulled into a nonsense storyline about the local corrupt cops shaking down the Luke's former lover for the stolen money he left her before being killed. The dirty cops are led, of course, by Ray Liotta. Because if you're going to have a cliched dirty-cop story, then you go all in an cast Ray Liotta. Avery tries to tell the police chief, who flatly tells him he doens't want to know about it. Also, Avery's wife hates his job on the force and wants him to leave the force. Because that's required for a bad cop story.


Avery is emotionally conflicted, and ultimately does the right thing to cynical ends. But he's not really interesting, and and saddled with a ridiculously bad story.


Act Three

15 years later, we have Avery's son, Jack. Avery is running for state office of some sort, is divorced, his dad passed away, and he's racked with guilt for killing Luke and leaving his son without a father. Also, Avery's own son is now a teen, and completely screwed up because Avery is a terrible father. An ironically terrible father. Whose son wants / doesn't want to live with him for his senior year of high school.


Jack has only one goal, to talk with a central-casting NYC white-boy thug accent. Even though he's from Troy, NY. The accent is so inexplicable that dialog is wasted to comment on it.


His other goal in life is to get high. The local dealer is Luke's son, Jason. They meet. Jack is a terrible person, faking friendship only to buy drugs from Jason. Jason, also a teen, is incomprehensibly screwed up as well. Even though his step father loves him deeply, is caring, funny, sensitive, and been with him by choice since he was an infant. But Jack perpetually mourns a father he never knew, and is the local loner / drug middle man.


He gets his dads name, googles him, discovers he was actually a horrible person and his mom was justified in shielding him from his legacy...and becomes even more screwed up. He also discovers his bro Jack's dad killed his dad. So he gets a gun, kidnaps Avery, threatens to kill him. Avery, racked with guilt, cries, which spooks Jason more than pointing a gun at man's head. He flees into the maple trees.


He uses his drug money, buys a motorcycle, and with his inherited powers of bike riding, starts a bike for the first time in his life and rides off into the sunset.




Two and half hours later, three acts of unlikeable people with unbelieveable story lines later...I'm completely confused. Presumably, the movie is trying to be a serious contemplation of the sins of the father, etc. Unfortunately, it's a overlong sequence of disagreeable people.


But where were the pine trees? There were no pine trees to be beyond. Every forest shot was of deciduous trees. Even the title makes no sense.

Edited by DaveF, May 01 2013 - 05:51 PM.

#7 of 7 OFFLINE   Craig S

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Posted May 02 2013 - 12:29 AM



But where were the pine trees? There were no pine trees to be beyond. Every forest shot was of deciduous trees. Even the title makes no sense.


Why would you expect pine trees? It's "the place beyond the pines."  :)


Seriously, the title makes perfect sense. From the Wikipedia entry on Schenectady, NY:



[color=rgb(0,0,0);font-family:sans-serif;font-size:13px;]The name "Schenectady" is derived loosely from a [/color]Mohawk[color=rgb(0,0,0);font-family:sans-serif;font-size:13px;] word for "on that side of the pinery," or "near the pines," or "place beyond the pine plains."[/color]


As for the film itself, I thought it was good, not great. Many aspects were top-notch (especially the acting), but in the end the films seems to add up to less than the sum of its parts. Like most here have noted, it's trying to be a meditation on actions & consequences, but in the end it just doesn't pull everything together in a satisfying way. Still, worth seeing if you like this kind of thing and want a "palette cleanser" before the onrush of summer blockbusters that begins tonight.

Three truths about movies, as noted by Roger Ebert:

* It's not what a movie is about, it's how it is about it.
* No good movie is too long, and no bad movie is short enough.
* No good movie is depressing, all bad movies are depressing.

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