The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Universal - 2012
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 141 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eve Mendes, Dane DeHaan, Rose Byrne, Bruce Greenwood, Harris Yulin, Ray Liotta, Ben Mendelsohn
Directed by: Derek Cianfrance
Music by: Mike Patton
Written by: Derek Cianfrance & Ben Coccio
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 6, 2013
Luke (Gosling) gives up his job as a motorcycle stunt performer in order to provide for his newborn son and the boy’s mother (Eva Mendes of Hitch). Avery (Cooper), an ambitious rookie cop, struggles to make his way in a corrupt police department. Their two worlds collide when Luke takes part in a string of bank robberies and the consequences of their shocking confrontation echoes into the next generation.
The place beyond the pines is the new drama from director Derek Cianfrance ("Blue Valentine") that explores the consequences of motorcycle rider Luke's (Ryan Gosling) fateful decision to resort to robbery in order to support his newborn son. This puts him in the sights of the local police leading to a confrontation with rookie officer Avery (Bradley Cooper), and the two men become locked on a tense collision course which will have a devastating impact on both of their families in the years following.
While the synopsis for The place beyond the pines sounds relatively uninspired the truth is that it is a rather ambitious film that explores themes of morality, fatherhood and fate. Told in three distinct acts its primary message is that of the ramifications of choice and the link between two men thrown together and the rippling effect that resonates a generation later. The first act which centers around Ryan Gosling’s character Luke, is a wonderfully executed setup for the film’s narrative. He is sympathetic and likeable and is drawn so that we see past his mistakes and can even empathize with him on some level. It finishes with a jolt that you may or may not see coming.
Act two switches the focus to Avery, his employment at the police department, his exposure to corruption and the pressures he quickly comes under as a result. I found act two to be shallow and poorly conceived. While there is connective tissue to the first act there are plot points that are introduced but not seen through and some of what occurs is just plain nonsensical. The third act moves forward in time and pulls together the threads from acts one and two. It attempts to draw us in with thought provoking twists and clichés. It succeeds on some levels but fails on others. This left the film feeling font loaded but not ineffectual in its overall thematic tone. There is a rewarding and gritty feel to the film that serves it well. I enjoyed the nature of its message but felt that it just missed the mark with an overly busy script that strove too hard to entice.
Be that as it may it’s raw emotion, art house aesthetic and excellent first act make it an effectively entertaining drama that poses some interesting coffee table discussion.
The rating is for language throughout, some violence, teen drug and alcohol use and a sexual refenrnce.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The place beyond the pines comes to Blu-ray from Universal Studios HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 31 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.8 Mbps.
This a solid video presentation that offers excellent refinement during close ups and discernibly crisp definition within objects during mid level camera pans. The color range perfectly sets the film’s somber tone and has a reserved aesthetic that rarely offers bright, eye catching hues. Rendering is clean and depth is appropriate. Fleshtones keep pace with the look of the rest of the film and have a balmy but natural texture. Spot on contrast yielded crisp, bright whites and blacks are stable but slightly elevated which leaves them appearing less dynamic and occasionally flat. I didn’t see this as a problem based upon the visual style of the film. This is a pristine encoding that showed no obvious signs of video related artifacts or anomalies.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix features dialogue that is full bodied with defining tonal characteristics and prominent soundstage position. High level detail is readily apparent as subtle sound effects, music and voices are rendered with superior clarity and depth. There is little call for active surround activity and extended dynamics however there is frequent use of atmospheric sounds that stabilize the soundstage in support of the venues and brief action depicted onscreen. That coupled along with the eclectic music score gives the soundtrack an open sounding and balanced presence that helps drive the films thematic elements.
- (HD) 4 Deleted & Extended scenes
- (HD) Going to The place beyond the pines – 4 minute featurette
- Feature commentary with co-writer/director Derek Cianfrance
- Bonus DVD
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
The place beyond the pines is an ambitious dramatic film that explores themes of morality, fatherhood and fate. It doesn’t quite resonate as deeply as its subject matter however it subsists via raw emotion, a rewarding art house aesthetic and an excellent opening act that make it worth seeing. It comes to Blu-ray from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring solid high definition audio/video quality and a disappointingly sparse supplemental package. Toss The place beyond the pines in your rental queue and give it a spin on Blu-ray.
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