When I first saw Blue Valentine (2010) I was not sure if I liked it, no so with Derek Cianfrance third feature film The Place Beyond the Pines (2012), which again features Ryan Gosling, who seems to get better ever time I see him. This new film is American film noir at its very best, a movie any serious cineaste should make every effort to see. Everything is right about it, from the wonderfully convincing acting to the feel of British born Sean Bobbitt’s cinematography, who was also responsible for another film noir The Killer Inside Me (2010) . But its backbone is its brilliant narrative that could have been written by Denis Lahane instead of Cianfrance and his co-writers Ben Coccio and Darius Marder. Totally compelling, a story in three acts about the unbreakable bond between fathers and their sons. A film full of surprises, with just the right amount of sentimentality.
|A story of fathers and their sons.|
|New York cop Avery Cross.|
This totally captivating movie is set in the upstate New York town of Schenectady, which incidentally is where the title of the film comes from it’s a Mohawk word meaning ‘place beyond the pine plains’. The first of the two fathers that dominate our story is Luke Glanton (Gosling) who scrapes a living as part of a travelling carnival show where he performs a wall of death stunt act. Passing through Schenectady he decides to look up an old flame Romina, played by Eva Mendes who I last saw in Leos Corax’s Holy Motors. On visiting her family home he discovers he has a six-month-old son called Jason. Luke decides to give up his nomadic life style and look after his newly found family. He obtains a badly paid job as a mechanic in a rural car repair shop. His employer, the wonderfully expressive Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn, spots the former stunt mans potential and the pair carry out a string of lucrative bank robberies which places Luke Glanton within the radar of the second of our two fathers the ambitious New York cop Avery Cross, another breakthrough role for Silver Linings Playback Bradley Cooper.