Hollywood makes a movie spanning 160 mins and a couple of generations, and it immediately becomes known as an epic and ambitious project (“we needed an epic opening shot for the epic we were making”, the director admitted). If that same yardstick was employed for Indian movies, every one of them would be an epic.
The Place Beyond the Pines feels like a movie which has gobbled up 3 movies. Out of which, the first two are fresh and the third’s rotten. The first movie deals with bank robberies and bike getaways, the second deals with intra-police corruption, and the third deals with a new generation and college life and peer pressures and bullying.
The strongest segment is undoubtedly the first. The scenes where Gosling helplessly looks on as his infant son is being baptised at the hands of another man, and the one where the said man fears for his relationship being undermined by an ex are powerful studies in human emotion. The way Gosling squeals whilst trying to threaten during the tense bank robberies proves his merit as an actor.
The third segment is by and large poor but one can manage to get a feel for how life would move on for those who continue to live after your death. We have the same characters in the same environment, but the main element which tied them all together is gone – and yet, they continue to exist; and this is what most movies don’t show, and might explain why the movie was branded as an epic.
What does Bradley Cooper do in the movie? He starts off as a cop, blackmails his way to the post of an assistant district attorney, and ends up as the State’s attorney general.
If you listen to the music score, you’ll find it pleasing but then you’ll also find that it inexplicably degenerates into a messy crescendo. The movie’s somewhat like that, without the messy but with the degeneration.
Bottomline: Watch it for Ryan Gosling.