Indie filmmaker Derek Cianfrance leaps straight from the intimate to the intimately epic with “The Place Beyond the Pines” (2013), about a motorcycle stunt rider turned bank robber (Ryan Gosling), a rookie cop (Bradley Cooper), and their confrontation’s far-reaching implications. In his breakout feature, “Blue Valentine,” Cianfrance skillfully contrasted the infatuation and estrangement of Gosling and Michelle Williams. Here, he reaffirms his knack for keenly observed drama, this time with far greater sweep. Gosling’s Luke Glanton goes wrong in a misguided bid to provide for the baby he belatedly learns he’s fathered with Romina (Eva Mendes, atypically strong). His tormented recklessness eventually leads to the encounter with Cooper’s Avery Cross, one that leaves the officer struggling with his newfound status as a hero cop. The focus shift from Gosling to Cooper is followed, in turn, by another big change for the final act. The action fast-forwards to follow Avery’s troubled teen son (Emory Cohen, “Smash”) and his dark hold on a classmate (Dane DeHaan of “In Treatment,” channeling Leonardo DiCaprio). It’s the sort of dramatically dense story that you might expect to see parceled out in fractured form — the approach Cianfrance employed for “Blue Valentine,” in fact. It’s impressive that he generates such tension by taking a more conventionally linear route. Extras: Wide-ranging, drily witty commentary from Cianfrance makes up for a canned featurette. Sample talking point: Method-y Gosling’s regrets about the (faux) face tattoo he got to get into character. (Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98)
A triptych that’s worth the trip
By Tom Russo| Globe Correspondent August 03, 2013
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