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The Place Beyond The Pines (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109942&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

Studio and Year: Universal - 2012
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 141 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

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

"One moment can change your life"

Film Synopsis:

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.

My Take:

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.

Parental Guide:

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.**

Audio: 80

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

Video: 86

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

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.

Bonus Features:

  • (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

Final Thoughts:

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.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
post #2 of 15
Thanks Ralph. I will throw this in the que and give it a rent. smile.gif
post #3 of 15
Thanks Ralph smile.gif You've got curiosity peaked on this one and its time for hopefully some good and clever writing. Netflix it is wink.gif
post #4 of 15
Saw this movie when it came out and wow I was floored. Fantastic movie.
post #5 of 15
I really liked this one too. Will most likely purchase this. Gosling is a slick dude as usual in this one
post #6 of 15
Saw the Blu-Ray and really liked the movie. I thought the 2nd and 3rd acts, were terrific due to the acting by all involved. I don't know if the depiction of police corruption is accurate or not. It would be difficult for a town to survive if it was, but it worked as drama for this layman. I thought Bradley Cooper was as good here as he was in "Silver Linings Playbook." "Pines" is the only movie I've seen this year that I thought was truly first class.
post #7 of 15
Agreed. This year so far has been very lackluster.
post #8 of 15
Nice review Ralph thanks. If this had a higher audio score I'd probably buy it on BD. Will probably rent this one on Vudu.
post #9 of 15
Heard great things about this movie,Will pick it up tomorrow.I also have stayed away from the trailers,so going in completely blind.
post #10 of 15
The audio/video were ok, I was just disappointed with the movie, I ended up buying it on BD but it would have been better to do a rental on this one.
Edited by comfynumb - 8/10/13 at 8:03am
post #11 of 15
This is 1 of the best movies I can recall ever seeing. smile.gif
post #12 of 15
Pretty darn good movie. Good sound/music -complements the film.

Ryan Gosling turns another top notch performance. He fits these roles perfectly. Reminded me of his character in Drive
post #13 of 15
I loved Blue Valentine so I checked TPBTP out. It's a good effort but the movie is either too long or too short. It's too long in that a major element of Act 2 seems not to be needed to get to where Act 3 is leading (the Ray Liotta bit).

And it's too short to be an multi generation epic about how the newer generation is dealing with the undoing of the earlier one.
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by darklord700 View Post

I loved Blue Valentine so I checked TPBTP out. It's a good effort but the movie is either too long or too short. It's too long in that a major element of Act 2 seems not to be needed to get to where Act 3 is leading (the Ray Liotta bit).

And it's too short to be an multi generation epic about how the newer generation is dealing with the undoing of the earlier one.


Thanks for chiming in with your thoughts darklord700. smile.gif

post #15 of 15
Because The Place Beyond the Pines showed up on HBO this month, I finally got around to watching it tonight. I thought it was a flawed but mostly entertaining art house film, made better for me because I had no idea about the second act. Thus when Bradley Cooper showed up, I at first thought, "Huh?" but soon saw what was going on and liked it. As would be expected, both Gosling and Cooper were terrific. I was less impressed, however, by the talent of the two young actors who played the sons. As I watched the arc of Luke's son, Jason, I started ruminating on the effect of nature over nurture and never came to any conclusion. Of course, the same could be said for the other son, the manipulative AJ.

There is a lot of food for thought in The Place Beyond the Pines, so I give it high marks for its thoughtfulness but reduce them a little bit for how uneven the film is. 7 Stars out of 10. As Ralph said, it's worth a rental if perhaps not a purchase.
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