The first "serious" drama of the year has a great cast in an unusual character study. The film stars Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper but don't expect fireworks between them since they only have one very short scene together. Of course, that scene is pivotal and extremely crucial to the story.
The Place Beyond The Pines is an Indian translation for Schenectady in upstate New York where the film takes place. It's a refreshing location for a film that deals with age old themes. Fathers and sons, family, and the choices we make that define our lives all play out in a low rent Shakespearean drama.
The film moves in a slow deliberate rhythm seemingly weighed down by it's heavy subject matter. However, the acting is excellent and supporting players Harris Yulin, Eva Mendes, and Ray Liotta all shine (although Ray Liotta's bad cop routine is getting old). Only Rose Bryne is wasted as Mr. Cooper's wife. Newcomers Dane Dehaan and Emory Cohen have a bright future ahead of them.
The cinematography is beautiful. Schenectady and the surrounding countryside have never looked better. Director Derek Cianfrance (who previously directed Mr. Gosling in "Blue Valentine") has stepped up his game and while it has it's flaws ( It could have easily been called "The Place Beyond The Cliches) it's still engaging and worth your time.