The Place Beyond the Pines

The Place Beyond the Pines. This was my second viewing (cf. the first), and I really really liked it. The whole thing hung together for me better this time. One thing I noticed the second time around that I appreciated: the movie opens with the sound of Gosling’s breathing prominent; the second main chapter opens with Cooper’s. I would watch a feature film made entirely of those tracking road shots.

The Place Beyond the Pines

The Place Beyond the Pines. It’s a bummer that the wind goes out of the sails when Gosling leaves the screen, but that’s still to his and the director’s credit for those parts of the movie. And Mendes was fantastic. What a talent. I just wish the third act hadn’t run out of gas. But, then again, I think that’s partly me being snob-weary-dreary-bonehead, “Oh, another fathers and sons tale” and not wanting to give in to it. It’s good, though. Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine is pretty sharp, too.

Blue Valentine

Blue Valentine. My first reaction: it’s a snuff film. My second reaction: it’s not entertainment. Which is right and wrong. Tragedy isn’t fun, but it is appealing in that train-wreck-in-slow-motion kind of way. The shifting back and forth in time lets you see, in parallel, their courtship (including a falling-in-love montage I will lazily/accurately describe as “cloyingly indie”) and their crumbling. Nice to see signals of their growing union fall into place (e.g., She starts wearing his jacket. One tune played is later revealed to be “their song” from back in the day. Etc.). Ebert observes wisely: “Dean thinks marriage is the station. Cindy thought it was the train.”