The Place Beyond the Pines doesn’t open in theaters until March 29, 2013, but the Focus Features drama is already generating plenty of buzz from the Toronto Film Festival screening in September of this year.
I’m not sure why the theatrical release is a whopping six months after the TIFF premiere, but back in September, Melanie Votaw wrote that the film “received the biggest bucks in its U.S. distribution deal in Toronto of all the films that were purchased.”
That’s saying something. No doubt they think it’s going to pay off at the box office. I also wonder if a dramatic film like this will be even better received internationally than in the U.S. Maybe I’m overgeneralizing, but it often seems like U.S. moviegoers go to movies to escape rather than be drawn into an emotional story, no matter how well done.
The reviews so far are good. Tim Robey of The Telegraph says his admiration for director Derek Cianfrance (who also directed Ryan Gosling in Blue Valentine) is “all the greater for the melodramatic risks he’s willing to take, whether or not every last one of them pays off.” And Chris Stuckmann over at Moviedex calls the film “so thematically and dramatically rich, soulful and suspenseful, it carves itself into your consciousness and refuses to leave.”
The caliber of the cast is enough to get me psyched for The Place Beyond the Pines, but the story is intriguing, too. Ryan Gosling plays a mysterious and mythical motorcycle racer named Luke who drives out of a traveling carnival globe of death and whizzes through the backstreets of Schenectady, New York, trying to connect with former lover Romina (Eva Mendes), who secretly gave birth to his son recently.
Luke resolves to forsake life on the road and provide for his newfound family, taking a job as a car mechanic with Robin (Ben Mendelsohn). But Robin soon discovers Luke’s special talents, and proposes to partner with him in a string of spectacular bank robberies using Luke’s skillful riding abilities. But it’s only a matter of time before Luke runs up against the law – which comes in the form of Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper).
Avery is an ambitious rookie cop navigating a local police department ruled by the menacingly corrupt detective Deluca (Ray Liotta). When Avery, just beginning to balance his profession and his family life with wife Jennifer (Rose Byrne) and their infant son AJ, confronts Luke, the full consequences will reverberate into the next generation. It is then that the two sons, Jason (Dane DeHaan) and AJ (Emory Cohen), must face their fateful, shared legacy.
Take a look at the trailer and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.