The Place beyond the Pines
Derek Cianfrance's follow-up to his marriage drama Blue Valentine is a three-part genre piece about a stunt motorcycle rider (Ryan Gosling) who enters a life of crime when he realizes that a short fling in the past with Romina (Eva Mendes) has resulted in a son. When a young cop (Bradley Cooper) gets involved with his case, his criminal activities take an abrupt turn.
Fans of Cianfrance's previous film and also those who were expecting "Drive redux" based on the minimal promotional material available are in for a surprise, though in my case the surprise was a very happy one. This robust story of complex morality and corruption is told with grace and gravitas. It is intermittently both a white-knuckle action film that keeps you on the edge of your seat and a dense drama that explores father-son relationships. Think of it as a crime thriller with the emotional punch of Blue Valentine.
Gosling gives yet another superbly intense performance but it's Cooper, and arguably Dane DeHaan, who steal the show with their surprising depth.
Prospects: Given the presence of two major stars and the potential to market the hell out of the genre elements, it could be a big hit, but the rumoured early 2013 release affirms my conviction that no one is expecting awards for this one.