It’s been two years since director Derek Cianfrance took the Toronto International Film Festival by storm with the premiere of Blue Valentine, his breathtaking film which tracks the evolution and erosion of a young couple’s relationship (played by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams) as they move towards mid-life. A few months after its premiere the film was finally released and I can still remember the heaviness that overcame me when I left the theatre after seeing the film for myself, realizing that the emotional journey I had just experienced in that room felt as real to me as reality itself. Each and every second of Blue Valentine pulsed with an aching kind of truthfulness that is unlike anything I have seen in recent years. And judging from the reactions Cianfrance’s latest film is getting in Toronto, the master storyteller has pulled off another brilliant home run.
The Place Beyond The Pines took centre stage at this year’s TIFF last week, and was one of the most highly anticipated showings at the festival. Ryan Gosling stars as Luke, a motorcycle stunt driver who finds out his casual fling with Romina (played by Eva Mendes) the year prior had led to a son. As Luke comes to terms with his new role as a father, he embarks on a dangerous journey towards bank robbery as a desperate way of providing for his boy. Kevin Jagernauth of The Playlist was in Toronto for the film’s premiere and judging from his review The Place Beyond The Pines is nothing less than a powerhouse:
“With ‘The Place Beyond The Pines’ Derek Cianfrance has now placed himself in the canon of great, contemporary American filmmakers like James Gray, Paul Thomas Anderson and the Coen Brothers. This is a film that desires to say something about how we relate to each other, and how the often overlooked consequences of our actions can refract down avenues we could never expect. A brilliant, towering picture, ‘The Place Beyond The Pines’ is a cinematic accomplishment of extraordinary grace and insight.”
You can read the entire 5-star review by visiting The Playlist. The Place Beyond The Pines also stars Bradley Cooper and Ben Mendelsohn (Animal Kingdom, The Dark Knight Rises) and yesterday it was announced that Focus Features has purchased the film and plans on a 2013 release. Focus CEO James Schamus and president Andrew Karpen said, “Derek Cianfrance has made a bold, epic, and emotionally generous saga, once again showing a master’s hand in eliciting searingly beautiful performances from the actors with whom he collaborates.”