It's always a tough after you've made an amazing debut film to then follow it with a second film. Some have done it - Guy Ritchie with Snatch and Quentin Tarantino with Pulp Fiction. Some guys haven't - Rian Johnson with The Brothers Bloom and Richard Kelly with Southland Tales. Fortunately, Derek Cianfrance takes his place alongside Ritchie and Tarantino. The Place Beyond The Pines is a remarkable well written and directed piece that Cianfrance deserves a lot of credit for.
His directing is wonderful. He can do it all. The way he sells dialogue through the camera is brilliant and to me, it heavily resembles Scorsese from films such as Casino and Goodfellas and his action scenes are some of the best I've ever seen. His directing of the car chases in this are just phenomenal.
Now I don't want to ruin too much, but what I will say is that the story is told in three sections. The first section is of Luke, a motorcycle stuntman, who quits his job after he finds out that Romina, played by Eva Mendes, his ex-girlfriend was pregnant and had his child. The trouble is, she married another man. Luke is torn between his new found love for his son, and his inability to hold a steady job. So, to take care of his 'family' Luke begins to rob banks, along with his friend, excellently portrayed by Ben Mendelsohn. Of course, this puts him on a collision course with Bradley Cooper's idealistic cop. This is all you can get from the trailer. What I will say, though, is that this is just the surface. What continues is a story of corruption, family and troubles growing up which is wonderfully told by actors that are just pure class. From Goslings Brando-esque solitary character, to Bradley Coopers up and coming cop to Eva Mendes' inexperienced Mum. It's a joy to watch. The story hits so many themes just perfectly. It's beautifully written.
However, all of this is a slog. Like I said, it's told in three sections. It's almost told like it's a three part series. What this brings with it, though, is that it loses momentum with each new section and it has more endings than Return of the King - and that's saying something. But if you stick with it, it's the most rewarding and enjoyable film with so much depth too it.