Derek Cianfrance made a name for himself with 2010’s acclaimed romantic drama Blue Valentine. For his follow-up, the director has again opted for drama, this time of the familial kind, with his ambitious fourth feature The Place Beyond the Pines (2013), which makes its way to DVD stands this week.
We begin with a visually arresting long take that introduces us to Luke (Ryan Gosling), one part of a bike-riding circus act. He soon discovers that Romina (Eva Mendes) has had his baby after their one night stand the last time he was in town. Despite the fact that Romina is now with Kofi (Mahershala Ali), Luke feels entitled to his family and is desperate to provide for them. That desperation leads him to oddball mechanic Robin (another great supporting turn from Ben Mendelsohn), and soon the pair are robbing banks. This in turn puts Luke on the radar of local cop Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper).
Nicolas Winding Refn earned critical acclaim and a cult following with Drive (2011), so it’s no surprise that for many Only God Forgives (2013) – which reunites the director with his former leading man Ryan Gosling – is one of the most anticipated films of 2013. Premiering at Cannes earlier this year to divisive reviews, the hype has been tempered somewhat ahead of its UK release this week, and upon watching Refn’s ultra-arthouse thriller it’s clear that many of those critiques were well-founded.
Hello readers! My first article for WhatCulture! is now live. It is a review of Ruben Fliescher’s Gangster Squad, out in cinemas everywhere today.
You can read the review at WhatCulture! here.