After writing about Drive, which I don’t consider a masterpiece, I thought I’d write about The Place Beyond The Pines, a small, unique film that also stars Ryan Gosling and one which I do consider a masterpiece.
Directed by Derek Cianfrance and staring the aforementioned Ryan Gosling, Rose Byrne, Bradley Cooper, Dane DeHaan, Eva Mendes and Ben Mendelssohn, The Place Beyond The Pines is a terrific film, with a different way of telling a story. There are many tremendous performances in the film as well as very beautiful cinematography. In my opinion, what Drive did to turn me off; The Place Beyond The Pines improved and told its story in a much better way. It also gave Ryan Gosling more to do as an actor.

Why The Place Beyond The Pines Was Overlooked…

Garnering an 80% critic’s score on Rotten Tomatoes and receiving a slightly lower 75% from audiences, The Place Beyond The Pines would end up being successful and taking in $35 million on its $15 million budget. However, the film inevitably suffered from being marketed as similar to Drive. This was probably due to the fact that the filmmakers wanted to jump on it success and thought it could rake in some extra cash by doing so. Unfortunately, this strategy would back fire a little because The Place Beyond The Pines is a completely different film with a completely different story than Drive. While still making money, any preconceive notion that Drive and The Place Beyond The Pines are similar should be washed away. They’re both completely different films and I consider The Place Beyond The Pines vastly superior.

Why The Place Beyond The Pines Is A Masterpiece…

I purchased The Place Beyond The Pines on DVD in mid-2014 along side Drive and Only God Forgives. This was in order to have a movie marathon that never came to fruition. I called said marathon “The Pretentious Ryan Gosling, Hipster Art-House Movie Night”. While one could describe Drive and Only God Forgives as pretentious hipster art house movies, The Place Beyond The Pines is a more mature drama without the hipster pretentiousness.

Why do I praise this movie so much? Simple, I love the way this film’s story is told and I think the screenplay is one of the most overlooked in recent years.

The Place Beyond The Pines is ultimately three films rolled into one. The first takes about 47 minutes to complete and then the other two follow suit afterwards. Each story is connected but I love how each act in this film is a different story with different characters and a different focus, more or less, each time. Like I said before, there is a connection between all three stories, which isn’t known until the end of the film and I really loved not knowing how everything would connect until the end. The way The Place Beyond The Pines was written is not something you see every day. It not only pulled off its ending well but it made the film a memorable experience on top of all the other positives I’ve already listed.

While I can’t deny that this movie has some similarities to Drive, it’s mainly due to Ryan Gosling’s performance. Like Drive, Ryan plays a man of few words. He does the same in Only God Forgives, a movie I tremendously loath but at the same time respect. What I didn’t respect about Drive was how eye rolling Gosling’s overly stoic performance was. For me, his man of few words is done better in The Place Beyond The Pines because we know more about his character’s background. I felt his performance was hammy in Drive because I didn’t feel connected to the mysterious “The Driver”. Compare that to The Place Beyond The Pines where I understood the setbacks and heartache of Gosling’s character Luke Glanton better. I also understood why he’d want to rob banks and commit crimes. That’s not a spoiler if you’ve seen the trailers.

The Place Beyond The Pines is a unique, small indie drama. It’s a well written film with terrific performances, great dialogue and is shot beautifully. It is A MASTEPIECE that was sadly OVERLOOKED because of poor marketing. It’s not only nothing like Drive and I also consider it a much better film than Drive.

A shout out to a character named Chief Weirzbowski. This is most likely a reference to 1986’s Aliens.