The Place Beyond the Pines (2013)

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Released 11-Sep-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Trailer-Start-up Trailers
Audio Commentary-with director/co-writer Derek Cianfrance
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 134:39
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (71:20) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Derek Cianfrance
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Ryan Gosling
Bradley Cooper
Eva Mendes
Ray Liotta
Ben Mendelsohn
Rose Byrne
Mahershala Ali
Bruce Greenwood
Dane DeHaan
Emory Cohen
Harris Yulin
Robert Clohessy
Olga Merediz
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music Mike Patton


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     The Place Beyond the Pines is the latest drama from director Derek Cianfrance. It tells us the story of how two men's lives can intersect for only a very short time, yet the consequences of their meeting will have ramifications for the next generation. They say the sins of the fathers are visited upon their children, and this certainly is true in this film.

     Derek Cianfrance co-wrote the script with Ben Coccio and Darius Marder, dividing his story into three distinct epochs with the focus on three different characters, a bit like Babel. In the beginning we follow the story arc of one character, and when that arc seems to reach an apex, the story shifts to another character. This can be disorientating, as most films have their audiences follow a character, but I advise you to follow this film until the very end! Each story is self-contained, with the film taking around 20 years to show us the effects of the actions of the main characters. This is a unique and intriguing method of story-telling and, despite the unconventional nature of it, Cianfrance makes this work brilliantly.

     Ryan Gosling plays Luke Glanton, a motorcycle stunt driver who works for a travelling carnival. While in Schenectady, New York, Luke learns that a one-night stand he had with a Hispanic waitress the previous year produced a son. The problem is that Romina (Eva Mendes) is now living with Kofi (Mahershala Ali), a new, committed boyfriend and father to the child. Luke wants to help the child financially so he quits his job and gets work at an auto-repair shop. Unfortunately, Luke can't survive on his new meagre wage so he and his boss, Robin (Ben Mendelsohn), conspire to work together to rob several local bank branches and split the takings. After succeeding with a couple of heists, Luke has a falling out with Kofi and Robin. He attempts to rob a bank by himself but it goes terribly wrong and he's pursued by the local police force. Officer Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper) chases Luke into a house, and the confrontation will have an impact on their lives and those around them.

     To follow what happens next will best require you to watch the rest of the film. Suffice to say, Luke and Avery are no doubt parallel characters, but it's not right to simplify things by saying one character is selfish and the other is selfless, the traditional notions of protagonists and antagonists go a bit out the window here. Rather, the film shows us that as humans we are all flawed and, faced with perplex and confronting issues, we don't always take the clear road.

     Director Derek Cianfrance balances the story by showing us the extremes of each main character and their efforts to find their own internal balance in their lives with their conflicts around them. Actors Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper give similarly rich portrayals of their characters, showing a wide range of emotions and complexity which add to the appeal of the story.

     The Place Beyond the Pines is a little slow-paced, but you need to be prepared for that. There is simply no other way to get around the time it requires to develop the stories around the characters on display here, who are anything but one-dimensional. In the end, you will appreciate the 135-minute running time. This is one of this year's very best dramas, deserving of its critical success and praise.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The Place Beyond the Pines was shot on a tight schedule using Arricam cameras and developed on 35mm Kodak film.

     The aspect ratio is 2:40:1, 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions.

     The film comes on a 7.40 gb dual-layered DVD with an average bitrate of 6.99 m/b per sec, which is above average for DVD.

     The colour is both natural and muted, there is a wide variety of hues in the video transfer. Overall, it is 'naturalistic-looking'.

     There are no major film artefacts evident. The film does have slight grain, but this is normal for films developed onto 35mm film.

     Subtitles are available in English for the hard of hearing.

     The RSDL change occurs at 71:20, during a scene transition, so it is not very noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The film's sound design is aimed at being realistic, like the video transfer, and avoids coming across as emotionally-contrived.

     The main audio track is a Dolby Digital English 5.1 track encoded at 448 kbps, with a secondary track in Dolby Digital 2.0 English stereo, encoded at 224 kbps. A descriptive audio track is also available in English for the hard of hearing in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, also encoded at 224 kbps. The director's audio commentary is also in Dolby Digital 2.0, encoded at 224 kbps.

     Dialogue is always clear, synchronised and audible.

     Mike Patton, famous for his role as the lead singer of the band, Faith No More, has produced a complimentary soundtrack which is mainly ambient.

     The surround channel mix is also ambient, with motorcycle sounds, gunfire, fist-punching and car chasing sprucing things up in-between many quieter dialogue scenes.

     The subwoofer does not overpower the audio transfer, it also supports the on-screen action when required.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Start-up Trailers

     Start-up trailers for The Great Gatsby (2:37), The Iceman (2:19) and Mud (2:21) play sequentially before the opening menu.

Audio Commentary with director/co-writer Derek Cianfrance

     Director and co-writer Derek Cianfrance holds our attention for the full 135 minutes, which is quite a feat! Cianfrance discusses the ode to Touch of Evil in the film's opening shot, how Gosling suggested his tattoos and how it affected his performance and how he always desired to film a triptych-type movie. Cianfrance also discusses trimming the film by 70 minutes to its final length, praises the city of Schenectady, shares how he incorporates mistakes into shooting and explains the meaning of the film's title. Cianfrance shares some candid moments about his approach and views on filmmaking, he hates editing for instance, and his anecdotes are interesting, as are is his screen-specific comments. This is one audio commentary well worth listening to!

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Although the Region 1 United States and Region 2 United Kingdom DVD releases contain an extra 9-minute extended and deleted scenes sequence and a 4-minute electronic piece-kit featurette, the main extra that matters, the director's audio commentary, is the only extra that is really significant. I would therefore state that the Region 4 DVD is on par with the Region 1 and Region 2 DVD's due to the audio commentary available on all the Regional releases.

Summary

     The Place Beyond the Pines is flawlessly constructed and executed. Derek Cianfrance balances the performances of some extreme and antipathetic characters with a compelling theme of action and consequence across different generations of people. Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes and Ray Liotta give excellent performances too. With a score of 82% at Rotten Tomatoes, you'll agree that The Place Beyond the Pines is a compelling drama worthy of repeat viewing!

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Stivaktas (I like my bio)
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 020), using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationSony HTDDW1000
SpeakersSony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)

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