Directed by: Derek Cianfrance
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Dane DeHaan
Genre: Drama, Crime, Thriller, Romance
My Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★
How I can hate one movie from a director and then see his next film and love it puzzles me. I'm talking of course about Derek Cianfrance's "Blue Valentine" and "The Place Beyond the Pines". The oddest thing is though that they aren't all that different. (Though this film didn't have MicHellOnEarth Williams in it. Thank God for that. ) So why is it that I loved this and hated "Blue Valentine"?
Well, let me start off by naming the similarities. Well aside from the obvious Ryan Gosling starring as a main character in both movies, Cianfrance has only directed two full length movies but already you can see how he tends to divide the movies into little pieces. The difference however being that in this case it worked very well and in "Blue Valentine's" case it didn't. "Blue Valentine" tells the story of a couple falling in love and the collapse of their marriage years later and in that movie the storyline switches between those two different times. This movie though has three parts to it and they move in a chronological order. They're all very different but the transition is always very smooth, very believable and most of all logical. You can barely notice how the previous storyline has ended perfectly and the new one doesn't seem new at all.
I feel as if it isn't fair of me two compare this so much to the other movie, but you've got to understand. Very rarely do I come across a situations where I'm amazed at one movie and incredibly frustrated by another from the same director. And it's even more bizarre that in this case those two are his only movies.
Now I don't like Ryan Gosling but unlike MicHellOnEarth Williams, I can't deny that he is a good actor. Good might not even cut it and in this movie he did it again. No surprise there. Bradley Cooper was also very good. Maybe even better. But the person who shocked me most, was Eva Mendes. I mean, I seriously have never liked her. I didn't even know she could act, but she managed to never piss me off. Not once. So that was pretty amazing. Also don't-know-if-I-can-call-him-a-newcomer-anymore Dane DeHaan was amazing as always. So all in all, a very solid cast. No complaint there.
And then of course there is the cinematographer. What is it with the movies of 2013? I can't remember the last time I saw a movie with very bad cinematography. And this movie was no exception. I read somewhere that Andrij Parekh who shot "Blue Valentine" and was supposed to shoot this dropped out because of a dream he had where he died on set and well... I'm sorry but I'm so glad he had that dream, because Sean Bobbitt, the guy who replaced him did an absolutely phenomenal job. It took me 15 minutes to choose the stills for this review and I still couldn't manage to pick out two. So a gold star to Sean Bobbitt!
And well the length... Yes, I mean the movie was indeed pretty long. But seeing as you basically get 3 movies in 1, I don't see why you would complain. So if you're not busy and your mind isn't filled with clutter, I don't see why you shouldn't go see this movie.
EDIT: I can now, after seeing this movie 3 times, say that this belongs in my top 10. Go see it. Now.