Place Beyond the Pines, The (Blu-ray) (2013)

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Released 11-Sep-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Deleted Scenes-(10:03) Four Scenes in HD.
Featurette-(4:32) Going to The Place Beyond the Pines.
Audio Commentary-Feature length witth writer/director Derek Cianfrance
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 180:24
RSDL / Flipper No/No 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
Rose Byrne
Ben Mendelsohn
Ray Liotta
Mahershala Ali
Dane DeHaan
Emory Cohen
Bruce Greenwood
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $19.95 Music Mike Patton


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes, In character and period.
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Lengthy tracking shot behind credits.

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

Plot Synopsis

     The Place Beyond the Pines is an ambitious film from writer / director Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine). The movie is long and demanding and succeeds at almost every stage of its epic structure. It is a provocative work that most definitely makes this filmmaker a man to watch.

     Structured as a triptych, falling into three separate but connected narrative strands, Cianfrance has as his thematic core the importance of family, fatherhood and fate. In the director's commentary he calls it "legacy and ancestry". Without giving away key points in the plot, the first section focuses on carnival daredevil bike rider Luke Glanton (Ryan Gosling). Completing an annual circuit and returning to a Schenectady town, Luke finds that his local girlfriend, Romina (Eva Mendes) , has given birth to the fruit of his previous visit, baby Jason. Romina has found security in a relationship with black and reliable Kofi (Mahershala Ali). Luke leaves the carnival and stays in town attempting to reclaim his girl and his son. He finds employment of a kind with mechanic Robin Van Der Zee (Ben Mendelsohn), who literally and metaphorically lives on the fringe of society. To raise money to fund his hoped for future with Romina and the baby, Luke and Robin embark on a series of bank holdups. When fleeing from a holdup, Luke is brought into a confrontation with police officer Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper).

     It is only as we move from the first section into the second that we become aware that there is a large plan at work here. This is not simply the story of one man's struggle to claim his child and his place in the world. We become aware of a larger theme as the second section of the film concentrates on Avery, apparently happily married to Jennifer (Rose Byrne), and father of young son AJ. Avery has a legal degree behind him, a father who is a judge, and he aspires to promotion within the force. This police family of men includes Deluca (Ray Liotta), who leads his co-workers in conduct that is not always strictly "by the book". Avery achieves hero status in his co-workers eyes, but he soon finds himself compromised by his complicity in their corruption. His moral decline matches the corruption of Deluca and his cohorts as he claws his way to a position of political power. The third section of the screenplay moves forward fifteen years and has as its focus the two sons, AJ (Emory Cohen) now the troubled son of a broken marriage, and Jason (Dane DeHaan) the nurtured son of a loving mother and the steadfast Kofi.

     The first section of the film ends leaving the audience uneasy, unsure of where we are heading. However, as the second section progresses we see the relevance of one section to the other. The theme of family is developed through Luke and Robin's odd attachment, while Luke tries to create a family with Romina and his child. However, to do this he must destroy the family created by Romina and Kofi. Later we have the family of Avery and Jennifer, apparently healthy but containing the seeds that would finally rend them apart. Deluca sees Avery's traditional family as a threat to the alternative family provided by the force, and challenges the young wife in a very telling dinner scene. Then we have the relationship of Avery with his judge father (Harris Yulin), wherein must lie the reason for Avery's problems with marriage and fatherhood. This treatment of fatherhood is dramatic and complex, and is the strongest aspect of the film. It seems a pity that the mother figures, both created with fine performances from Eva Mendes ( We Own the Night) and Rose Byrne (Get Him to the Greek), are relegated to the dramatic sidelines as the film develops. However, the theme here is fatherhood and that is where the film's focus lies.

     It is in the final section that the film loses its dramatic strength. Fate takes the upper hand, and we feel the impending aura of a Greek tragedy. Perhaps some of the problem is that we feel the loss of the star performances from Ryan Gosling (Gangster Squad) and Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), both excellent. The remainder of the more mature cast is uniformly excellent, and young Dane DeHaan, soon to be seen in Kill Your Darlings, is impressive as the sensitive Jason, the young man who seeks to unlock the mystery of his father. However, as the son of Avery Cross, Emory Cohen is far too extreme. This young actor was very good indeed in TV's SMASH as Debra Messing's troubled son, but here he is almost unintelligible and embarrassingly over-the-top.

     This is a film that resonates and really gives food for thought. Just as the very best novels can be savoured more than once, The Place Beyond the Pines is a film that warrants, and possibly needs, more than one viewing. Released last September, you will already find it on the discounted tables at major retail outlets, and you won't regret the purchase.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The Place Beyond the Pines comes to us in a transfer that does justice to this outstanding film.

     The film is presented at the aspect ratio of 2.40:1, its original theatrical ratio.

     There is a sombre nature to the look of this film, with the palette rich and full, but subdued with an emphasis on browns and dark reds. By contrast the leafy aerial shots of the Schenectady town are glorious. The image is superbly sharp and detailed, from the leaves on the trees, to the detail of the interiors and the stubble on Ryan Gosling's face. I also found the shadow detail to be outstanding, as in the background of Ben Mendelsohn's ramshackle garage behind one dialogue scene. The widescreen photography from Director of Photography Sean Bobbitt (Shame) is excellent, ranging from extended tracking shots, as in the opening, traditional controlled camerawork and hand-held sequences, used most effectively in the action scenes. Action only occurs in this film when it is integral to the script, but when it does it is explosive.

     There are English Descriptive Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired, which are in basic white at the foot of the screen.

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

Audio

     There are three audio streams: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 encoded at 48 kHz, Descriptive Narration for the Hearing Impaired, English Dolby Digital Surround Encoded at 48 kHz and Commentary with Director Derek Cianfrance, English Dolby Digital Surround Encoded at 48 kHz.

     The soundtrack is of the same high quality as the visuals. The opening long tracking shot uses the surrounds most dynamically as we follow Ryan Gosling on his walk through the carnival grounds, and continues in the following "Wheel of Death" sequence. As the film becomes more dramatic and dialogue driven we do not get as much use of surrounds, but when there is an opportunity, as in the motorcycle scenes and car chases, we are enveloped in a dramatic sea of sound. The dialogue is basically front and centred, and there is not one syllable lost - until the appearance of young Emory Cohen. There are no sync problems. The subwoofer is used minimally, but does add substance to the eclectic and moodily dramatic score from Mike Patton.

     The Descriptive Narration for the Vision Impaired is delivered satisfactorily by a more mature male than usual.

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

Extras

Menu

     The menu screen incorporates a still of Ryan Gosling with an insert screen with a montage of scenes from the film. Music from the score accompanies the visuals.

Director's Commentary

     For the entire length of the film, and that's almost two-and-a-half hours, we have the pleasant company of writer/director Derek Cianfrance. The commentary is very personal, and filled with anecdotes about the genesis of the film and actual production. This is a revealing commentary, and very specific to what is on the screen. Every aspect of the film is touched upon, beginning with the opening logo and the lengthy opening tracking shot, which was devised as a tribute to Orson Welles' Touch of Evil, and other films Cianfrance admires. There are interesting comments on Ryan Gosling's tattoos, the music, the problems encountered in using locals as extras, casting - Eva Mendes actually casting the role of her mother - and interesting insights regarding our "national treasure" Ben Mendelsohn. We even learn that Baby Jason was played by Tony Pizza! The commentary never falters, and is one of the best - particularly as it accompanies such an admirable film.

Deleted Scenes (10:03)

     Four scenes of varying lengths, all presented in the same high quality as the feature. The first cut of the film was an hour longer than its present running time. It must have been difficult to discard scenes as good as these four.

Featurette : Going to The Place Beyond the Pines (4:32)

    Presented in high definition comparable to that of the feature, this is fairly light and predictable - unlike the excellent commentary track. We see the director, the two male leads and Eva Mendes in interview footage in high definition at the ratio of 1.78:1, with scenes from the film at 2.40:1.

Startup Trailers

     The Great Gatsby (2:37) 1080p and 2.40:1, The Iceman (2:19) 1080p and 1.78:1, Mud (2:21) 1080p and 2.40:1.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

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

     The U.S. Blu-ray + DVD + Ultra Violet Combo release adds subtitles in French and Spanish. Our local discounted release would be my choice.

Summary

     This is one of the best films of the year. An epic venture, excitingly successful on so many counts. At nearly two-and-a-half hours it holds interest, even if the final section is less than the first two. Excellent performances from the two male protagonists, with flawless support from a large cast of seasoned actors. Beautifully produced, this is one film that I'm looking forward to revisiting. The extras are pretty slight, with the exception of a first rate commentary from the writer/director. This film ... almost a great film ... is given a beautiful high definition transfer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BLU RAY BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA55A950D1F : 55 inch LCD HD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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