The place beyond the pines

Since “Blue Valentine” Derek Cianfrance has paired up with Ryan Gosling again this time with the ambition of achieving “his” epic crime movie. Because who better to delve into this genre with than the hero of “Drive,” currently enjoying leading-man status?

The idea for “The place beyond the pines” was clever–the film, much less.

Stilted by excessive determination Cianfrance delivers an imitative film that’s full of clichés and unnecessary lengths. Divided into three distinct parts, the screenwriting piles up unrealistic ellipses.

As it were, the biggest concern with this independent thriller is time itself and its effects (a regular Cianfrance leitmotif first noticeable in “Blue Valentine”).

While the story takes place in three acts over a fifteen year-period, the entire movie seems frozen, as if everything was happening in under two weeks. Characters have little or no arc. One can easily understand what could’ve motivated the director, except that instead of making one good film, in fact, he’s made three failed ones.

And yet, there was potential in this puzzle of a screenplay and the host of talented actors (Liotta, Gosling, Cooper, Mendes) attached to it. Except that most of them illustrate the story rather than deepen it. It would have been wiser to grab just one end of the yarn and spin it until the end. Sure, you could say that cinema is in fact synonymous with the art of the ellipse but this is too heavy-handed an approach.

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