2012 / Derek Cianfrance > A generational crime saga back-ended by a coming-of-age story of discovery and loss, The Place Beyond the Pines is a confluence of genres that don’t often see each other at the cinema. And if you take into effect its headliners—current A-listers Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper—you’re in for a bigger shock considering the pace at which the film plays out. Unlike Cianfrance’s last effort, the painful-to-watch but ultimately impressive Blue Valentine1, Pines flows fairly smoothly, but it’s also not as snazzy as mainstream filmgoers would expect. It’s a slow burn (clocking in at almost 2.5 hours) that’s heavily dependent on meditating upon the past. The nature of forgiveness, a topic the Dardennes2 have nearly perfected, is at the forefront as we see fathers and sons come to terms with who they are. In fact, the film sets forth a “manly” proposition in defining the roles of sons through their paternal spirit at the expense of loving but ignored mothers. Whether you buy that premise or not, one thing that’ll stay with you is the performance of Dane DeHaan3, whose turn as a fatherless teenager will pour sympathy out of your guts.