Derek Cianfrance has made another brilliantly pensive film about the failings of the human drive for progress in The Place Beyond the Pines.
Movies that treat small personal conflicts in sweepingly dramatic and devastating ways are often hard to watch, inching dangerously close to mushy melodrama. But the Blue Valentine director has an amazing ability to treat an intimate narrative like an epic poem.
The Place Beyond the Pines is actually three films. Three very good films. While they are woven together in a way that is initially jarring, Cianfrance’s structural decisions prove carefully thought-out and, indeed, riveting.