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Author Topic: The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)  (Read 1836 times)
drinkanddestroy
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« on: April 21, 2013, 10:59:38 AM »

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1817273/


The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) 8/10




Saw this last nite in the AMC on 32nd & 2nd.


.......................Ryan Golsing plays an insanely awesome motorcycle rider who performs at a traveling circus. All inked up (including on his face), wearing cut-off shirts (including a Metallica shirt identical to one that I own), and with bleach-blond hair, he is a badass dude. One year, he blows into a town, and checks up on a girl (Eva Mendes) he met on his last visit; he now discovers she has a one-year old boy named  that he fathered when he was last in town. Golsing decides he will be a daddy to his son. He quits the circus and decides to remain in the town (the Upstate NY town of Schenectady, NY).

Mendes is, understandably, torn between her feelings for Gosling and happiness that her son's father is now in his life... and the new man in her life (Mahershala Ali), with whom she seems to have settled down and is living a stable life. Ali, who has taken in and provided for Mendes, her mother, and the baby, whom he treats as a son, understandably wants no part of Gosling around. Gosling decides that the only way he can win over Mendes is to make some cash quick. Seeing his prowess on the bike, a local mechanic/bike enthusiast (Ben Mendelsohn) whom he had befriended suggests they rob some banks together.

Pursuing the bank robber is a cop (Bradley Cooper), who also has a one-year-old son. The cop is one honest cop in a corrupt department, and as the movie moves into the second act -- which is seemingly completely unrelated to the first -- Cooper decides to clean up the department -- by using his law degree to become an Assistant DA. By the third act, 15 years later, Cooper, by now divorced, he is running for State AG, and eventually, as his campaign swings into full gear, Cooper's son, now a senior in high school, moved back with him to Schenectady, where he befriends Gosling's son.......................

Now, some (if not all) of these plot elements will sound familiar, it's not particularly original or ingenious, but this movie is made really well/weird/crazy/nuts/awesome, it's just so hard to put into words. It seems weird all along, cuz the first two acts seem completely unrelated. And I mean, completely; before sort of coming together in the third. If you look on imdb, the cast list (which it says are in the prder of the credits), is listed not in order of main characters or most prestigious actors, but in order of act; so minor players in the early part of the film appear in the credits before lead players of the second and third parts of the film).

 There's a certain device used in Psycho which I will not mention (no, it has nothing to do with a shower), maybe if you are astute you can figure it out from the hints I've dropped, but it, at least for me, made things seem kinda weird and not-right, but not in a bad way  Wink

Lots of the movie is filmed in a sort of realist/documentary style, with what seems to be a handheld camera that gets in close sometimes, a little shaky; often, when there is a shot of one person, he/she will appear on one side of the screen, and the other side will be empty, rather than having him/her appear in the middle (perhaps to show the subjects' isolation). The scenes of Gosling riding the motorcycle are filmed spectacularly well, and there is an amazing car-motorcycle chase through a cemetery that disappointed me only because I wanted it to go on for longer.

I like how the movie knows what it is -- like when it introduces a "plot twist" that everyone knows is coming -- that the sons of Cooper and Gosling are going to meet as 16-year olds -- it doesn't act as if it just "gotcha" on some big twist, but it telegraphs it to you a mile away; IMO, that's a nice touch, letting you know, 'we don't take you audience for fools, we are gonna telegraph this all along, because the fact that they meet is not a major twist, but what happens when they meet.

The acting, and I cannot possibly emphasize this enough, is as solid as could be up and down the line. Golsing, Cooper, Mendes, Mendelsohn, Ray Liota as a crooked cop, Emory Cohen and Dane DeHaan as the sons of Cooper and Gosling -- are all terrific performances.

Go watch this movie.


« Last Edit: April 26, 2013, 05:45:06 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2013, 05:42:10 AM »

Here is noodles_leone's review from the RTLMYS thread:

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=7645.msg164616#msg164616

The Place Beyond The Pines 4/10

Pointless story, bad dialogues, good acting, interesting camerawork. I have no problem with swishing main characters as many time as you want in a movie, but this is something that has to be done right (see: Psycho). It is very, very badly done here, utterly uninvolving. The lost youth theme is not treated (they're just lost and dumb, with no reason). Also, I'm not a  fan of this kind of subject: I don't believe that identity is mainly shaped by genetics. That's some dangerous ideology if you ask me.
Gosling is playing exactly his Drive character, but he's more of a loser.

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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2013, 05:56:25 AM »

I suggest y'all see this movie, but until you do, don't read this thread. We're gonna be discussing spoilers and since this is the movie's own thread (rather than the RTLMYS thread), I don't believe it's necessary to write a "spoiler alert" every time. We've talked about this in the past, but I'll just say now once and for all, we will be discussing this movie in-depth and if you haven't seen it, stay away from here. You can read the first 2 posts for a non-spoiler discussion, but starting now, stay away  Tongue


@noodles_leone:

Suppose the character of Luke was played not played by Gosling, but by some unknown actor. Would that change your assessment of this movie at all?

For me, obviously there was something a little weirdly-not-right about this, but mostly because Gosling is such a famous actor, you didn't believe he'd be gone after the first act and that's all. (And no, this ain't some dumbass horror movie where he reappears in the final scene!)
But IMO, this was a nice little thing the movie does, cuz one problem with movies in general is that you often figure out plot elements just based on the cast: eg. if there is a tense moment early in a film, where someone may die, if it's a big star who is the leading actor in the film, then there really is no tension, cuz you know he can't die till the last few minutes.
 So in a rare case like this when a movie screws around with that concept, and says, 'no, you can make no assumptions on what will happen just based on the actor's name,' it's sort of like "getting back" at the usual system, and (after I got over my initial surprise), I enjoyed it.

Anyway, so my question remains: How, if at all, would your assessment of this movie change if the character of Luke was played by some unknown actor?

« Last Edit: April 26, 2013, 05:58:32 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2013, 08:57:31 AM »

I think I would like the movie less, actually. If the unknown actor isn't good enough to carry something more than the scripted character, the movie would lose even more: the Ryan Gosling character isn't interesting at all. Gosling makes something of it, because he's very good and because of his star status. An unknown actor would have to be very very good to do something out of almost nothing.

I have no problem with swishing protagonists played by famous actors, it just has to be done right. I mentioned Psycho in my original review: this is a much well done example of wat you're talking about here. But such a technical flaw could be easily forgiven after 10 minutes spent with the new character if the other flaws I mentioned weren't there (uninteresting (and somewhat disgusting) story/themes, bad dialogue, bad characters).

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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2013, 09:50:35 AM »

I think I would like the movie less, actually. If the unknown actor isn't good enough to carry something more than the scripted character, the movie would lose even more: the Ryan Gosling character isn't interesting at all. Gosling makes something of it, because he's very good and because of his star status. An unknown actor would have to be very very good to do something out of almost nothing.

I have no problem with swishing protagonists played by famous actors, it just has to be done right. I mentioned Psycho in my original review: this is a much well done example of wat you're talking about here. But such a technical flaw could be easily forgiven after 10 minutes spent with the new character if the other flaws I mentioned weren't there (uninteresting (and somewhat disgusting) story/themes, bad dialogue, bad characters).

my point was this: the story completely changing focus is much more magnified because the one you expected to be the center of the story is suddenly gone and that's it, it's like, "what's goin on here?!" But supposing it was someone you never knew, and weren't expecting anything. Supposing you never knew the names of any cast members. You just see a character and he gets killed off. Maybe you are a little surprised cuz you expect this character to be there all along, but nowhere near the level of surprise if that character is played by someone you don't recognize. That wouldn't change anything for you?


RE: whether the Luke character is interesting: I believe he is, but I will say that more importantly, the character and the actor playing him/her are inextricably linked. I can't say, eg. "well, its not an interesting character, but the actor is interesting..." to me, a character is only really brought to light by the way he is portrayed, by the actor. if an actor is interesting top watch as a character, then IMO, THAT CHARACTER IS INTERESTING. It;'s not like eg. a screenplay, which can be separated from a movie; you can analyze a screenplay and say "this is a good screenplay" or "this is a bad screenplay," regardless of whether the movie is good. IMO, a character is different. They are inextricably linked to the actor portraying them, and can never be completely separated. Unlike a screenplay, a character is not something written on a piece of paper; a character is the person portraying him. of course, the way he is portrayed is a result of a combination of factors, including the way he is written, directed, lit, made up, etc. But the actor's performance is a part of the character.
Yes, if a different actor had played Luke, then to some extent, that would change Luke the character.
So i wouldn't say that Luke is an uninteresting character but Gosling makes him interesting. IMO, if you believe that, then  Luke is an interesting character.

maybe we are debating semantics, maybe not, but either way, I enjoyed watching gosling very much here. The acting is terrific up and down the line in this movie.

and what about the cinematography? the scene where the cop car is chasing Gosling on the bike is an incredible scene! and some of the other motorcycle footage taken from a moving motorcycle, its awesome

« Last Edit: April 26, 2013, 09:54:02 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2013, 10:33:18 AM »

my point was this: the story completely changing focus is much more magnified because the one you expected to be the center of the story is suddenly gone and that's it, it's like, "what's goin on here?!" But supposing it was someone you never knew, and weren't expecting anything. Supposing you never knew the names of any cast members. You just see a character and he gets killed off. Maybe you are a little surprised cuz you expect this character to be there all along, but nowhere near the level of surprise if that character is played by someone you don't recognize. That wouldn't change anything for you?

I see what you mean, but no that wouldn't change anything important, I think. At most, it would have changed (very little) my appreciation of the 10min following Gosling's death.
The same thing happens whe we swish to the kids, by the way.

RE: whether the Luke character is interesting: I believe he is, but I will say that more importantly, the character and the actor playing him/her are inextricably linked. I can't say, eg. "well, its not an interesting character, but the actor is interesting..." to me, a character is only really brought to light by the way he is portrayed, by the actor. if an actor is interesting top watch as a character, then IMO, THAT CHARACTER IS INTERESTING. It;'s not like eg. a screenplay, which can be separated from a movie; you can analyze a screenplay and say "this is a good screenplay" or "this is a bad screenplay," regardless of whether the movie is good. IMO, a character is different. They are inextricably linked to the actor portraying them, and can never be completely separated. Unlike a screenplay, a character is not something written on a piece of paper; a character is the person portraying him. of course, the way he is portrayed is a result of a combination of factors, including the way he is written, directed, lit, made up, etc. But the actor's performance is a part of the character.
Yes, if a different actor had played Luke, then to some extent, that would change Luke the character.
So i wouldn't say that Luke is an uninteresting character but Gosling makes him interesting. IMO, if you believe that, then  Luke is an interesting character.

maybe we are debating semantics, maybe not, but either way, I enjoyed watching gosling very much here. The acting is terrific up and down the line in this movie.

I agree about the semantics, but I think the character isn't interesting on paper, and Gosling makes him watchable. I'm not saying he couldn't have been interesting: just like most of the script, he's a first draft to me.

and what about the cinematography? the scene where the cop car is chasing Gosling on the bike is an incredible scene! and some of the other motorcycle footage taken from a moving motorcycle, its awesome

The cinematography's quite good. It is the one reason why I am happy to have seen this movie. Seeing this kind of indie-like cinematography in a movie with such a cast is really refreshing, and although there is nothing revolutionary here, it made me think about my own work (I know it doesn't mean much for other people, but that's the way I rate cinematography these days). I wouldn't say it's excellent, but it's really interesting, with a few really good try. The opening extended shot is one example. The motorcycle scenes are hit and miss with me but even this is good: it mean they tried something.

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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2013, 11:11:02 AM »



The cinematography's quite good. It is the one reason why I am happy to have seen this movie. Seeing this kind of indie-like cinematography in a movie with such a cast is really refreshing, and although there is nothing revolutionary here, it made me think about my own work (I know it doesn't mean much for other people, but that's the way I rate cinematography these days). I wouldn't say it's excellent, but it's really interesting, with a few really good try. The opening extended shot is one example. The motorcycle scenes are hit and miss with me but even this is good: it mean they tried something.

I loved the chase scene so much, where the cop car is chasing Gosling on the motorcycle, I was just upset it didn't go on for longer!

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« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2013, 02:28:01 PM »

Just saw it.

Noodles_leone used the expression "first draft" and that verbalizes a lot of whats not right with this movie. There's no real life in the story - it's a bunch of plot points happening to a bunch of characters. And those characters are logical in terms of the story, I admit that. But they don't feel very real to me. The story happens in a movie world, not in the real world.

It's got a pretty interesting framework and basis but that's exactly how it feels like: a skeleton - not alive. But I'm more forgiving than noodles_leone. It's a pretty good genre flick if you look at it that way. A pretty good genre flick - nothing more, nothing less. It doesn't offer anything more than a good ride but if you're ready to enjoy the ride you'll be entertained. Visually it fits my taste like a glove and the soundtrack is terrific. Gosling does his Gosling very well, for the first time I can take Cooper seriously and Mendes isn't wearing a bra.

7/10

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« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2013, 03:56:55 PM »

Thanks for the reviews guys. I thought this looked interesting but I'll go in with reservations after reading this thread.

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« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2013, 04:20:20 PM »

Why don't you go in from scratch, with a totally clean slate? Thats the best way to watch a movie. Knowing nothing at all beforehand

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« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2013, 05:01:27 PM »

Nah.

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« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2013, 02:30:06 AM »

well if you're gonna watch a movie and mentally have two strikes against it, then don't bother to watch it.

It would ruin for you what would otherwise be a very enjoyable movie

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« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2013, 02:47:16 AM »

well if you're gonna watch a movie and mentally have two strikes against it, then don't bother to watch it.

It would ruin for you what would otherwise be a very enjoyable movie
Too high expectations can ruin a movie, too, don't you think?

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« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2013, 12:08:33 PM »

Too high expectations can ruin a movie, too, don't you think?

no doubt.

don't go into any movie with any expectations at all. Don't expect. Just watch and enjoy (or hate)!

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