Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Pining for Ryan Gosling

I intended to see The Place Beyond The Pines upon viewing the preview for the first time. The image of Ryan Gosling speeding into the tree lined horizon of upper New York was mesmerizing. I was curious to find out what he will bring to the character. Then, mixed reviews came in. Everyone praised Gosling's performance, he never disappoints, yet most found the three part vignettes disjointed and that the movie ran too long. With the film in limited release, I wondered if it was worth venturing out to Manhattan to see it. As my enthusiasm wavered and the film descended to the bottom of my to-see queue, I came across James Franco's review in the Huffington post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-franco/ryan-gosling-place-beyond-the-pines_b_3014853.html). Franco's post about The Place Beyond The Pines is poignant, exhilarating and downright beautiful. He paints a vivid picture of Gosling (The Gos). He masterfully crafts each sentence in appraising the performance both individually and collectively. After reading the review, I too wanted to make love to the movie. Having availability this weekend, I decided to dedicate three hours to the appreciation of the Gos. With every scene, Franco's voice echoed in my head as if he was sitting right there whispering the film's narrative into my ear.

Despite being a bit long, with an over indulgent mid-section, The Place Beyond The Pines is an enjoyable experience. Having read the reviews prior to seeing the movie, I had a feed-forward on the events and the story's progression. This, however, did not diminish from the film's magnificence.   Gosling evokes a magnitude of emotions. I swooned, I smiled, and I cried. Gosling's rendition of the troubled soul but good at heart Luke is so consuming, you crave him in every scene. I wonder how different Bradley Cooper's chapter would have been if Gosling was cast in the role. I was eager to see him spar with Ray Liotta. Not to fault Cooper, for it is refreshing to see him convey other sentiments rather than disdain from behind his Hangover glasses. But how can he follow Gosling's performance - no one can. In large part, this is the reason Cooper's vignette seems over drawn. However, Cooper was successful in getting the audience to dislike Avery despite sympathizing with his character.

The Place Beyond The Pines plays like an inverted sandwich, with the dull stale slice of bread encased between two meat patties. The last portion of the movie is a powerful bookend to Gosling's chapter, bringing together the fate of our antagonistic protagonists. The film's major premises, as Franco so eloquently states, is a Shakespearean Sins of our Fathers. It begs the question, are we destined to follow in the footsteps of our fathers regardless how much or how little influence they had in our lives? As if our destiny is preordained by our genes not our actions. The movie also touches on the dichotomy of good and bad, more of the contrast between what society, and perhaps the viewer, deems as good or bad and the intentions of individuals. We often set out to do good, but in a bad way with the notion of the ends justify the means. However, when is this conflict accepted both publicly and privately. This brings us to another theme, conforming to society. The more we conform and assimilate with the masses, the more forgiving people will be of our sins. As opposed to loner stoners who do what they want as they deem appropriate. Society more readily judges and prosecutes their sins because they are viewed as renegades and outsiders. The Place Beyond The Pines raises the question, which of our two antagonistic heroes will die with a clear conscience.

After reading Franco's post, I was hesitant to publish this review. My writing could never so articulate my sentiment in such a profound manner as Franco's review. Whenever I try to wean myself off this Franco crush, he does something so admiral that elevates him to new heights, so admiral that he would serenade the performance of a fellow actor and pine for the Gos! If The Place Beyond The Pines is not on your must-see list, may I suggest that you read Franco's review and then decide. I guarantee that you'll speed out the door in search for a showing upon reaching the last words - Burn Hard Baby!


  1. I read your review of this movie at imdb.com
    I had almost allowed myself to be convinced it would be a bad movie based on all the bad reviews that I had read, previous to finding yours.

    I liked your review so much that I came to visit your blogspot.

    I like your writing, stop saying that you suck at it because you don't. I have read several of your posts and I liked them so much that I joined the group and added a bookmark. I plan to come back and read more whenever I have the time so please, please, keep writing.

    ps I have two other movies I was considering so if you have seen He Died with a Falafel in his Hand and/or Smoke 'Em if You Got 'Em, please please lead me to that review of yours.

    1. Also - I highly recommend that you read Franco's review, it is beautifully written.

  2. Susan - thank you so much for your kind words. They really made my day. I haven't seen the above mentioned movies, but I will look them up this weekend and let you know.

  3. Ryan Gosling is a very good actor and i'm actually excited to see this movie, i will go and see it next weekend.
    Excellent Review By The Way.

    1. Enjoy :) and thx for the kind words

    2. Furthermore, pls read Franco's review. It refreshing to see someone selflessly complement a colleague's performance.

    3. Of course, I read Franco's review, how could I not after reading your praise of him. Both of yall wrote convincing reviews of the movie so that I couldn't wait to see the movie.
      It took me some time, and a move across country from NJ back to LA and then a search for a loner pc that was capable of smoothly playing a movie but I did finally see the movie. I still feel excitement inside me. ...my favorite part though.... it must have been Jason's reaction to finding the picture in Avery's wallet. OMG, it was such a tiny little thing but it was so dang powerful. omg... "this isn't about your son" OMg, it blew me away when Avery addresses him by name and then apologizes. My heart broken for both of them at that point.
      The movie wasn't too long or full of too much misery; It felt like home to me and I wished for more.
      Thank you, Amira... thank you because if not for your review, I probably wouldn't have watched the movie...
      Don't bother with those other 2 movies I mentioned; low budget indie films that weren't very good