Derek Cianfrance has done it again. After seeing his debut movie Blue Valentine I instantly became a fan of his. It had some of the best acting I've seen, and was incredibly raw and real. It felt very intimate, and was one of the best character studies I've seen. Movies can sometimes have a hard time portraying whats going on beneath the surface of the characters, but that's where Blue Valentine excelled.
The Place Beyond the Pines follows in that same vein. It's another movie where the focus is all on the characters. It centers around Ryan Gosling's character, a volatile motorcycle stuntman, and the branching effect his actions have on the other characters. I don't want to spoil any more of the plot because there are some serious surprises.
This movie once again excels as a character study. The characters are where this movie really shines. In Blue Valentine the whole film centered around two people, and by the end you really knew them, almost too well. Because there is more of an ensemble in Pines, there are more characters who get that same treatment. Every action in this movie seems like it's coming from a real place; every scene is lined up amazingly.
Cianfrance has a pretty signature style in the way he shoots. There are long introspective shots that really help the viewer get completely immersed in the movie. There is something about the shots he chooses, and the whole tone of the cinematography in his movies that gives a sense of underlying tragedy. The score is very ambient and haunting, and works great for the tone of the film.
It's a moving, sad, beautiful and haunting film, and it goes right up there with Blue Valentine as one of the best movies I've seen in a while.
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