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The Place Beyond the Pines

One moment defines your life. One decision becomes your legacy. 

Year: 2012 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Derek Cianfrance 
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes  
An image from The Place Beyond the Pines

Making its bow at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival to widespread acclaim, The Place Beyond The Pines finds two of the industry’s contemporary heroes reuniting to deliver a heartfelt, elegiac work of cinema. After delivering a huge emotional sucker-punch with 2010’s sublime Blue Valentine, fast-rising auteur Derek Cianfrance and the ever-sizzling Ryan Gosling have reteamed for this beautiful tale of crime, family ties, and recklessness.

Based in the neo-noirish world of suburban America gone to waste, Gosling stars as motorcycle stunt driver Luke Glanton. Glanton knows his trade and the streets pretty well, but when he impregnates his lover Romina (Eva Mendes), he is jolted out of his relative apathy and forced to make crucial decisions regarding both his own lifestyle, and that of his fledgling family. In order to provide for his newborn son, Glanton becomes an outlaw, pulling off a number of heists with the help of his skills as a motorcyclist. Of course, such transgressive actions entail fierce consequences, and when police officer-turned-politician Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper) gets involved, the ripple effects of their actions go on to seriously transform the lives of their families and children.

Anyone who has been pining for Gosling in a classic ‘rebellious’ role will find themselves more than sated here, but his Glanton is invested with such a subtle, burning charisma that neither he – nor his situation – ever succumb to conventionality. Cooper, too, leaves his critics far behind him in a layered, towering performance supported wonderfully by Mendes, Rose Byrne, and Ray Liotta. It’s all presided over by Cianfrance, whose steady hand weaves multiple plot strands with dazzling grace.

Sensitive, violent, and iconic, The Place Beyond The Pines is something of an epic, but for all its scale, its raw power is not to be overlooked. Don’t believe the YouTube trailer trash: this is so, so much more than Drive 2.

Michael Perry

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Screenings of this film:

2013/2014 Autumn Term (35mm)
2013/2014 Autumn Term (35mm)