The Place Beyond The Pines kind of felt like was watching three films, instead of one. Not in a bad way, just that there were three completely different stories each with their own climax and denouement. It was long, but in my TIFF-dehydrated state it was doable.
Note: maybe Derek Cianfrance can talk to Peter Jackson about how to pack multiple stories into one feature. Not hating, just not thrilled about The Hobbit being broken into three now.
Tangent. Gosling looks totally jacked, and once again turns in a performance that has you immersed in the story from the jump. His Handsome Luke is sort of a cross between his characters from Drive and Half Nelson – once again he plays a man who has trouble with his instinct for self-destruction.
The real pleasant surprise for me here was Bradley Cooper as Avery Cross. He manages to show us he conflict and ultimate resigned acceptance with his life choices maintaining that mask of camera-ready attractiveness. Of all the characters his is the one that is the easiest to identify with in the beginning of his story, and yet at times he is the most enigmatic and frustrating.
Some great naturalistic moments between the characters in each of the stories remind us that this is the guy that brought us Blue Valentine. I hope he keeps bringing his stories to the festival.