Director: Derek Cianfrance
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne Certificate: 15
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The Place Beyond The Pines showcases two of the biggest names in film as two honour-bound fathers, Luke Glanton (Gosling) and Avery Cross (Cooper). Accompanied by a strong cast of established names (Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne) as well as some recognisable rising stars (Ben Mendelsohn, Dane DeHaan), the plot follows these two, and their echoing decisions, across 16 years.
Built upon a premise of action and reaction, Cianfrance creates a peaceful, chaotic world where Glanton and Cross struggle to do what is right by doing the wrong thing. The true beauty of the film is Cianfrance’s knowledge of where to place blame – something made both more complicated and yet clearer thanks to the story’s sheer scope. These are flawed leading men but Derek’s direction keeps them relatable, understandable and strong enough to stay interesting, even across several generations.
There are few better examples of such well-written, conflicted and exposed characters given to actors of Cooper and Gosling’s size today. Quiet, thoughtful, stunning.
(Read our full film review of The Place Beyond the Pines.)
The extras consist of an enjoyably in-depth commentary with Derek Cianfrance who, as co-writer and director, stays modest about the tone of the film and concentrates on what they were hoping to achieve in each scene, especially the action sequences.
There are also six extended/deleted scenes, including a few unnecessary but intense segments. In one, Luke and Robin discuss their percentages from each bank job, which adds depth to their relationship but is clearly not needed for the story. In another, Luke is seen entering prison. His impulsive and defensive nature is shown as the police ask him to change into a jumpsuit (following a defiant, yet crowd-pleasing strip-off).
Overall, we see a little more into the Pines world, but are shown nothing we don’t already know, adding to the impression that the final feature is well-rounded and as carefully planned as it could be. The disc includes a short behind-the-scenes featurette, giving an idea about the premise of the film as well as snippets of interviews with the major cast members. Similar to a five-minute EPK segment between films on TV, anyone likely to commit to the extras on the Blu-ray of The Place Beyond the Pines is going to hope for a slightly deeper interview. With little insight into the making of the film, these other extras do not stand up to the commentary with Cianfrance, who comes across as proud and comfortable; it is not difficult to see how he turned his vision into a film of such legacy.
The Place Beyond the Pines is out now on UK video on-demand services and on DVD and Blu-ray.