The Place beyond the Pines (2012)

(On Cable TV, January 2015)  If I was in a better mood, I would probably have something nicer to say about The Place Beyond the Pines, its savvy use of Ryan Gosling, its unusual generation-hopping timeline, the quality of its images, the profound exploration of the meaning of fatherhood, the unexpectedly dramatic performances by Eva Mendes and Bradley Cooper, and a number of other meaningful factors.  It’s a quality film, one that has a lot on its mind, and one that takes time to invest in its characters.  But if writer/director Derek Cianfrance seems to be directly inspired by the artistic moviemaking of the seventies, he isn’t particularly interested in snappy storytelling or even base entertainment: The Place beyond the Pines tests everyone’s patience at 140 minutes, wallows in a somber tone and never again reaches the heights of its first act.  I may not be in the mood for moody films these days, and that’s not the film’s problem.  But it becomes my problem in trying to report on it, as the dominant impression I keep from it is having lost quite a bit of time watching something underwhelming.  Not recommended for people with only the patience for light entertainment.

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