Novelistic ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’ is the first truly great film of 2013

The Place Beyond the Pines

Directed by Derek Cianfrance

Written by Derek Cianfrance, Ben Coccio, and Darius Marder

USA, 2013

There’s something very special about The Place Beyond the Pines, perhaps not in its plot as in its execution. Co-writer and director Derek Cianfrance slowly unfurls a tangled web, starting out simply in crafting a small-town tragedy that only becomes weightier as the film reaches its natural end point. The Place Beyond the Pines deals with characters in wholly realistic situations, toeing the line of melodrama but never tipping over, remaining fully grounded, levelheaded, and low-key even as the reverberations of a handful of actions from one generation topple over into the next, affecting more people with each response from its players.

Ryan Gosling stars as Luke Glanton, a thrill-seeking motorcyclist who works at a traveling carnival. While in Schenectady, New York, Luke reconnects with an old flame, Romina (Eva Mendes) and discovers that,
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