The Place Beyond The Pines

April 15, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Posted in 2013 | Leave a comment
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◊ ◊ ½

This is not the movie you think it is.  I just have to say that before I start and by way of explaining that I am not sure how to proceed without saying too much.  I will tread carefully.  Everything I saw in the trailers was over within the first 40 minutes of this 2 hour and 20 minute film.  What came next was all a bit of a surprise to me.  That’s the good news; I like have no idea where a film is headed and that was certainly the case here.  The bad news is, in the end, I wasn’t that interested in the journey.  Both Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling give fine but not outstanding performances.  Cooper’s pales when compared to the complexity of his character is “Silver Lining Playbook.”  Gosling ‘s performance lies somewhere between his too-cool-for-it-all character in “Drive” and his broken man in “Blue Valentine” and fails to be as believable or as resonant as either.  The brilliant Ben Mendelsohn (“Animal Kingdom”) is shamefully underutilized.  Ray Liotta is, well, Ray Liotta.  Eva Mendes doesn’t seem capable of the performance required of her character.  In fact, I felt like the whole movie lacked the energy it was trying to generate.  This story seemed to be trying to say big things about the relationship between fathers and sons over 3 generations and how we repeat the way we were raised, for better or worse, despite our best efforts.  I could be a powerful story and the script is certainly packed with punches but they all felt like glancing blows.  I’m not sure I can say exactly why.  The script is at times overwrought but there are some genuine moments that should have worked for me.  Part of it was that the characters didn’t connect with me; perhaps none of them is on the screen long enough for me to care.  I think this was a film with two too many stories told in a 3 act format.  It’s a shame but, in the end, it just didn’t work for me.

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