We want to start off by thanking Fogs over at FogsMovieReviews for filling in for Scotty this week. We really appreciate it, and you should all go check out his site!
The Place Beyond the Pines
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Writer: Derek Cianfrance, Ben Coccio
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes, Bradley Cooper
Plot: A motorcycle stunt man gives up his life on the road to take care of his infant son. When he is unable to find a job or provide for his son. He turns to a life a crime.
Rate It: (0 – 3 Guys)
So what did you think?
Adam – Women everywhere are going to be heartbroken when they watch this film. Cianfrance takes some huge chances with this movie. While he does not hit a home run with everyone of them it’s great fun to watch him try. I Would be surprised if this film does not make more than a few men reassess the role of fatherhood.
Fogs – I thought it was great. Very long, it was definitely really a long film, I know that that will be a complaint that a lot of people will lob at it. But I still thought it was exceptional. The performances were great, and the story was definitely epic. In spite of the enormous run time, I never lost interest. And in spite of the fact the central point of view jumps around like a hot potato, the tension was always high. There was always something very intense happening. The bank robbery scenes and get aways are very harrowing.
Griff – This was a very well acted film. There are some really terrific scenes and the movie turns on you in ways that you wouldn’t expect. It is a long film however, and I can’t help but think that some of this could maybe have ended up on the cutting room floor to spare everyone from a sore behind.
Any thoughts before you saw the movie?
Adam – Trying to look like Ryan Gosling in a leather pants covered with tattoos and riding a motorcycle might be next years hottest Halloween costume. Well, at the very least that is what I am going as. Now I just need to get down to zero percent body fat and get going on some crunches.
Fogs – I thought it would be a more traditional cops and robbers movie. I can’t blame the trailers for choosing that route, either, obviously that will sell more tickets.
Griff – Bradley Cooper seems to really be starting to come into his own as an actor and I have always been impressed with Gosling so I was pretty psyched up to see this one. I was also happy that we actually found it playing someplace close by.
Did you think this movie was fresh and/or innovative?
Adam – I have not been left slack jawed while watching a film for a long time. So yes this was as fresh as hot bread out of mom’s oven. Conceivably, this could be three separate films. The lives of the characters are interwoven through generations, showing the ripple effect of even the smallest actions we take. So refreshing to see a director take some chances with a film.
Fogs - Not so much. It didn’t feel played out, or like something we’d seen a million times, either, but I didn’t leave feeling I had seen something groundbreaking, no.
Griff – I thought there were some interesting things going on here. The movie has it’s little surprises that will leave you wondering what the hell is going to happen next. It’s not reinventing the wheel by any means but the film felt fresh.
Did you think the script was well written?
Adam – When I returned home the first thing I did was look up all three writers on IMDB. While the film does hit a few lulls in the narrative, overall this is just the sort of scriptwriting that main stream cinema needs more of.
Fogs – Absolutely. It has some really tense scenes, some well written characters and an epic story. It was very well done. The dialogue wasn’t all that memorable or anything, but on the other hand it was completely credible… very believable.
Griff - They did a great job considering how epic this film is and how many generations it needs to span. The movie never lost focus and it kept you interested the whole time despite the length.
Was there a performance you really liked or really hated?
Adam – Hard to pick among all the great acting demonstrated in this film. It was almost like they were having some sort of contest. Lets give a shout out to two actors whose previous efforts I have panned. Ben Mendelsohn and Dane DeHann both give triumphant performances in this film.
Fogs – Gosling, Cooper and Mendes were all fantastic. Really solid acting throughout. I also really liked Ben Mendelsohn as Gosling’s partner in crime. Even all the supporting actors they had were great.
Griff - Bradley Cooper was great, Gosling was great, I thought this was one of the better performances I have seen from Mendes. The only performance that I really didn’t care for was Emory Cohen. He was a little too over the top for me.
Do you remember a song from the film?
Adam – Bon Iver – “The Wolves”
Fogs - Well, they didn’t use licensed music, so the choices were slim. The main theme, with its single piano notes, though, was pretty haunting.
Griff - Hall and Oates – “Maneater” – Can you ever really get enough Hall and Oates in your movie?
What was your favorite line?
Adam – “If you ride like lightning, you’re going to crash like thunder”
Fogs – “Not Since Hall and Oates has there been such a dynamic pairing.”
Griff – I am sure everyone else is using this one too but..”If you ride like lightning, you’re gonna crash like thunder”
What would have made this a better movie?
Adam - Avery’s son AJ was a bit over the top with his impersonation of every Jersey Shore cliche you have ever witnessed. Perhaps a few scenes could have been trimmed down just a wee bit. Not that a 140 minute run time was an issue but there are a few lulls in this tale.
Fogs – The length of it is going to be people’s first criticism, I’m sure. So I’d have to say they could have improved it by making some judicious cuts and taking the runtime down to about 2 hrs. It’s a testament to the movie that I don’t have any ready or easy recommendations. For a long movie, it still seemed pretty tight. Still, they need to find 30 seconds here, a minute there and add it all up and in order to bring it down a bit.
Griff - A little snip here and little clip there and you could have made a movie that came in around 2 hours without losing the feel of the movie. I know that this kind of thing can be difficult but every scene is not pure gold. Also I didn’t buy the transformation of Avery’s son into one of the cast of Jersey Shore. It was a little too heavy handed.
Is it worth seeing in the theater? Or could you have waited for the DVD/Stream?
Adam - With a film this epic in scope you should check it out in the theater. Well that is if it is playing anywhere near you. We were forced to log some miles to check this one out.
Fogs – It’s worth seeing in theatres, due to the cinematography (which was excellent), but considering that a lot of people will have to drive to see it (its still not in every theatre), and the fact that the enormous runtime begs the use of a pause button, I’d say waiting til it hits blu is a good idea.
Griff – Your mission should you accept it, is to find it playing in a theater around you and go check it out.
What other movies would you recommend if someone enjoyed this film?
Adam – Malick’s The Tree of Life (2012), The Sound of Music (1965) and To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) are all great films that explore the role of fatherhood.
Fogs – “A Bronx Tale” is a good one about fathers and sons, as well. “Heat” or “The Town” are good bank robbery flicks. “Narc” is a great movie about dirty cops… it also stars Ray Liotta as well.
Griff - The epic feel of the movie and generational aspect of the film brings the Godfather Part II to mind. Getting in the way back machine you should check out Bogart in High Sierra Its about a guy who tries to do the right thing but things go haywire. Something newer…I am not sure why but American Beauty comes to mind.
Any final thoughts on this movie?
Adam – Apparently, if you refuse to look at your boy when he is an infant, he is going to turn out to be a drug addled scumbag. Spend quality time with your kids. The actions that you take now, have consequences much larger than your own pitiful existence. Now that my moralizing is finished, lets just say I would re-watch this film right now if given the opportunity.
Fogs – The Place Behind the Pines is an epic tale of crime and corruption. It’s full of fantastic performances from a loaded cast. It’s a very long story, but it never loses steam. Every new aspect of the tale has its own conflicts and moral issues. Patient viewers will love this film.
Griff - The Place Beyond the Pines seems like a movie that should have been released in the fall and not in the spring. I am not really sure why it received such an unusual release time. It feels out of place right before we move into the summer blockbusters. That said, it is worth checking out. There are some great performances, some really nice cinematography and enough plot twists to keep you interested for the whole ride.