Derek Cianfrance's The Place Beyond The Pines is the highly anticipated follow-up to Blue Valentine which explores the actions and consequences which can shape generations. Luke is a stunt cycle rider who lives on the edge of society with not much to his name. When he discovers his lover recently gave birth to his son, he begins to provide for his family by any means necessary, using his motorcycle skills to rob banks. The more Luke feels that he is losing his family to another more responsible man, the more out of control he becomes, leading him on a collision course with Avery, a ambitious rookie cop, which will shape not only their lives, but the lives of their sons. The Place Beyond the Pines is a film with epic dramatic ideas written all over it, yet it unfortunately buckles under the weight of its own intentions. The narrative takes place in two parts, following Luke and his struggles but then fast forwarding fifteen years to observe the consequences of everything on Avery, and both of their now teenage sons. The first half of the film is by far the most interesting segment, with Luke's brutish character being particularly compelling. Luke is a man with such an unstable, seething rage, and I found the juxtaposition of this man's rage with his love to be one of the most interesting segments of the film. Besides Luke's character, the film ultimately lacks energy and any genuine form of spontaneity in its characters and decisions. The film really struggles to mature its themes in the context of the characters, almost exclusively relying on the narrative to provide too much. There really wasn't much of a connection from a thematic standpoint, at least not one that isn't vapid. I am a major fan of Blue Valentine but with The Place Beyond the Pines, Derek Cianfrance seems to have forgot what made that film so strong - character. It's almost as if Cianfrance got so wrapped up in telling this epic narrative that he forgot to make the characters deep and interesting. Much of the characters decisions don't feel genuine or real but simply a bi-product of the films narrative and while the film's ending is a poetic conclusion,, the parts of the film just don't equal the sum. Derek Cianfrance's The Place Beyond The Pines starts off strong but ultimately fails to deliver on its lofty expectations with the film getting less interesting with each passing moment.
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