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THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES

Director: DEREK CIANFRANCE

140 minutes, U.S.A., 2012, Colour, D-Cinema


After the visceral love story that was Blue Valentine, writer-director Derek Cianfrance shows no lack of ambition in this expansive contemporary saga, engrossingly tracing the longterm ripple-effect of questionable moral decisions.

Cianfrance’s work obviously thrives on moments of heightened emotional intensity, and actors seem to love working with him, hence the ever-charismatic Ryan Gosling’s return as a rootless carnival daredevil biker who tries to settle down when he learns he’s the father of waitress Eva Mendes’ child.

How he chooses to support his new family however, brings him into contact with local cop Bradley Cooper, here delivering a handsome yet slippery turn as a beat officer whose designs on ascending the career ladder take priority over ethical imperatives. Shaping events into a fascinating triptych structure, Cianfrance subsequently explores the ultimate ramifications of the two men’s actions, as the film is powered towards a satisfying, poetic conclusion by its stellar, committed performances and brilliant cameraman Sean Bobbitt’s intensely radiant images. (Notes by Trevor Johnson.)

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