Monday, May 6, 2013
At the cinema: The Place Beyond the Pines
I should tell you that I am a major baby when it comes to movies, and will cry at most things. For example: you know that scene in Spider-Man 2 where the people on the subway car carry Spider-Man over their heads after he passes out and then promise not to tell anyone who he is? Tears. On my face. SPIDER-MAN 2 MADE ME CRY. Me = baby. I guess I'm just extra sensitive? I don't know, I also think I kind of like crying at the movies, even though whenever I feel tears coming on I always bite my lip and mumble, don't cry, stop it, stop crying, this is fake, and then proceed to to snot-cry anyway. But I do always feel better when I walk out into the world afterward. I mean, I don't have much to cry about in my real life, and a good cry can be therapeutic, you know?
So, with that said, The Place Beyond the Pines is a really therapeutic film.
I think I cried continuously for the first forty-five minutes? Haha, just kidding, that would be weird. But I definitely cried a lot during the first forty-five, aka the Ryan Gosling section. This film is loosely in three parts, telling the story of two men (Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper) and their sons (Dane DeHaan and Emory Cohen). Gosling is a motorcycle punk who starts robbing banks to provide for his son, and Cooper is the cop that apprehends him. We then see how the aftermath of those events impact their teenaged sons years later. Of the three sections, Gosling's is by the far the best, the most compelling and emotional. Everything about it was perfect, and I know it's working really well when I'm not just crying because something is sad, but because it's happy (with an undercurrent of doomed, however...). I'm thinking of the scene where Gosling's character (named Handsome Luke by the way), feeds his year-old son ice cream for the first time, and when Eva Mendes cries during the family photo. Ugh--don't look at me, I'm a mess!!
Even though there were moments in this film that truly touched me, I did feel it was perhaps overly ambitious; it attempted to deal with many complex themes (fatherhood being the most prevalent) but couldn't quite make a fully formed statement about any of them. And while Ryan Gosling's section was great, the following two were lacking in comparison. At first I really enjoyed Bradley Cooper's section, but then he did something that just didn't make sense to me, and not in a how could he do that?! kind of way, just in I guess I don't understand this character at all kind of way. And I felt that the final section missed the mark to bring the story full circle and truly say something about fatherhood, or sons, or the consequences of our actions, or whatever.
All that being said, this film still stayed with me for days afterward, due to the parts that were working, and the beautiful photography, and wonderful soundtrack. And also Ryan Gosling and Dane DeHaan, who are both the best.