Sometimes you see a movie trailer and you know it’s destined for Oscar victories. At the very least, a movie trailer could give off an Oscar vibe. Last year’s prime example was Lincoln. From the trailer alone, I thought Lincoln would win best picture. Despite its Oscar potential, Lincoln nabbed just two Oscars, including best actor in a leading role (Daniel Day Lewis).
The Place Beyond the Pines displays the same potential for Oscar achievements, but could the movie live up to the high expectations created by its strong trailer?
The beauty of The Place Beyond the Pines lies with its layers. The trailer previews a part of the plot that is simply the first part of the movie. The main character changes throughout the film, which allows the audience to see the movie through numerous perspectives. It also progresses through years of plot, that connects all the characters involved in a similar way to Slumdog Millionaire. The Place Beyond the Pines wasn’t as intricate as the 2009 best picture winner, but was equally effective. That’s impressive and makes for a very interesting movie with Oscar aspirations.
The Place Beyond the Pines also had a great cast to go with its strong story. Ryan Gosling played the same character he portrayed in Drive and it worked. Bradley Cooper continued to build off his Oscar nominated performance in Silver Linings Playbook.
Eva Mendes does her part, and you can’t go wrong with Ray Liotta. Dane DeHaan (Chronicle), although typecast as a troubled teenager, plays the part well. I was excited to see him in the film, because he belongs in that role.
Despite the stacked cast I already spoke of in the paragraph above, one actor’s performance may be overlooked. Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises) was truly terrific. Mendelsohn portrays Ryan Gosling’s friend, who serves as Gosling’s mentor and the only person who really knew him. In a movie with a stacked cast, Mendelsohn not only held his own but also arguably put forth the best performance of the film.
On top of a great story and a phenomenal cast, The Place Beyond the Pines added a solid musical score and slick camera work. So what was wrong with this film?
The only issue I have with this film is its lack of any sort of humor. I laughed three times during The Place Beyond the Pines, but I think I was only supposed to laugh once. One character made one joke. The other times I laughed were when Gosling’s voice cracked constantly during his bank robberies (Yes, I still laugh at dumb things like that).
I understand it’s a drama, but there is absolutely no happiness throughout the film. It is a straight-up drama. It wasn’t the most depressing film I’ve seen, but I wasn’t particularly happy when the movie ended (And I was going out for wings. I should have been excited). I have difficulty watching films like that, especially twice. Why would I want to watch a movie that depresses me?
Despite my feelings, I won’t penalize the film, because it was fantastic. I just might have difficulty watching it a second time.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The Place Beyond the Pines surpassed the high expectations I already had for the film, and proved to be the first Oscar-worthy movie of 2013.
I’ll give The Place Beyond the Pines 5 out of 5 cups.
The Place Beyond the Pines made a domestic total of approximately $21 million versus a production budget of $15 million, according to Box Office Mojo.
To see the movie trailer for The Place Beyond the Pines, click here.