The Place Beyond the Pines is Derek Cianfrance’s remarkably ambitious follow-up to 2010’s Blue Valentine, a sprawling epic focusing on two generations of fathers and sons, separated into three distinct acts that each contain their own climaxes and themes. Ryan Gosling plays the doomed bank robber who wants to provide for his son, and his path crosses Bradley Cooper’s, who plays an up-and-coming police officer whose life changes with this newfound success. The movie’s quietly complex in its morals, and the themes that carry through the 15-year jump in the film’s final act work wonders. Cianfrance is willing to take chances, even if that means sacrificing the intimacy he established with his first feature. This is a bold film, an elaborately rendered one that features two brilliant acts followed by a sufficient third that makes for the first great film I’ve seen in 2013.
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