THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES – FILM ANALYSIS
Recently I made a video on the opening shot of Steve McQueens ‘Shame’ and discussed the significance of this opening as foreshadowing the narrtive, revealing character and a subtle introduction.
This video with Explore and contrast the Opening and Closing scenes of ‘The Place Beyond the Pines.’
Let look at this brief example of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love.
If you compare the opening image and the closing image of Punch Drunk Love, you can clearly see the affects and result of Barry’s journey.
Think of the closing image as a symbol of where he has reached emotionally in the narrative.
He is closer to the audience, he is more centred, he is embraced by another person, he allows the world in through the door in the background, he is in harmony with the score as he plays on the harmonium, There is a lens flare, which is a spark visually used when Lena and Barry are together.
‘The Place Beyond the Pines’ uses a similar technquie but uses full sequences to really explain the destiny of each character.
Derek Cianfrance uses many ways to connect Jason with his father througout the films but the contrasting ending tels us that Jason doesn’t share Ryan Goslings fate.
Throughout the film Jason shares these elements with his father, the bike, the passing of the sunglasses similar to the gold watch in Pulp Fiction, they are both theifs and both free spirits who leave Eva Mendeze’s Character.
Jason and Luke are connected again by this moving shot, the framing and the use of music, makes for a haunting yet warming moment for Jason as he discovers a new part of his father.
The Reason I bring up the connections between the father and son is because it is all the more telling that they hav contrasting conculsions based on the opening and closing shots.
Both Shots are long and follow one main character, We know for Luke his world will be turned upside down by the surprise of his son and his struggle to fit in his life and is backed into a corner during the final robberies, that’s why Lukes opening journey ends in a ‘Cage’ to symbolise how trapped he will be by the situation.
Although we see Jason mirror many character traits of his father, the closing sequence tells us a different fate for him. He follows in his fathers foots steps as he takes ownership of his first bike and inset of a Cage we see him heading into the disctance, towards the trees, followed by the Title card, ‘The Place Beyond the Pines.’
The title is used here as a narrtive device and ‘The Place Beyond the Pines.’ Is teling us were Jason’s Character reaches by the end of the film. Making this a hopeful ending for Jason who seemed at many points to be domed to fail.
Also noteable is how most of the film takes place in and around the town but the major turning points for characters happen in the tree or beyond the pines.
Luke meets Robin and will be encouraged to steal.
Bradley cooper is led by Ray Liotta, perhaps to be kills but instead decides to turn in the dirty policemen.
And this films moment with Jason, again supporting this as a moment of change for our character and despite the tragidy of the film this seems hopeful and new, rather than the cycle of intertwined families.
Derek Cianfrance isnt the first director to use the Title at the end of the film as a narrtive device. Chris Nolan famously has use this in all his films.
Allow me to share a snipit from my inception analysis to further explain.