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Watch: The Dazzling Opening Shot From 'The Place Beyond The Pines' Plus Derek Cianfrance's Trailer Commentary

by Kevin Jagernauth
April 5, 2013 9:39 AM
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Yes, it's over two hours long, and "The Place Beyond The Pines" is a sprawling saga set over a few decades. But that doesn't mean that it isn't instantly gripping, and director Derek Cianfrance plunks the audience right into the world of stunt riding Luke, played by a tattooed Ryan Gosling rocking bleached hair, with an opening shot as immediately captivating as it was dangerous to shoot (it nearly killed the DP). If you're waiting for the movie, now playing in limited release, to come near you, here's an early peek at the great sequence which sets the movie in motion to hold you over.

For one thing, the movie doesn't show us Luke's face right away. Instead we're greeted with an inked up torso and hand working over a butterfly knife, before we follow the Metallica t-shirt wearing man (from behind, with a clear influence from the Dardenne brothers) through the sights and sounds of a fairground, until he gets on a motorcycle and rides into the cage of death. The preview clip cuts out just before we see the crazy cyclist stunts. DP Sean Bobbitt initially got right into the cage to capture the stunts...only for one of the takes to end with him on the ground, and a pile of motorbikes on top of him.

It's a great story (read it here) and the scene itself is pretty dazzling. Give it a watch below and after that, check out the trailer with commentary from Cianfrance. "The Place Beyond The Pines" goes wide on April 12th. [via Bleeding Cool]

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  • DG | April 9, 2013 11:24 PMReply

    Love this shot. I read the article about the dp going to the hospital and everything right before I went so I kind of knew what was going to happen step for step but still, really fucking good. The whole movie was amazing actually, maybe the third act was a tiny bit rushed but thats minor criticism, it was solid all the way through.

  • triguous | April 5, 2013 8:02 PMReply

    There's a guy on the left that looks at the camera twice when Ryan Gosling walks past him. How could that go unnoticed? Should have been reshot.

  • Andrew | April 6, 2013 4:03 PM

    So apparently every movie that has a shot in which someone looks at the camera should be re-shot? I made sure to look for what you pointed out but still couldn't even notice it. What does it matter anyway? If you think about it the camera is not an entity in the story or in the world of film unless it's s documentary or the fourth-wall is being broken, so technically the guy who looks at "the camera" isn't really looking at it...cause it doesn't exist in the world of the film. But yeah, probably a little too much analysis haha.

  • Tom | April 5, 2013 1:48 PMReply

    C'mon guys, that's a pretty cool opening shot.

  • cirkusfolk | April 5, 2013 1:06 PMReply

    Is this Aronofoskys The Wrestler?

  • A teen | April 5, 2013 12:22 PMReply

    So based on this opening shot, I can expect this whole movie to be shot and paced like a snoozefest AG Rojas music video. Good to know.

  • Erik | April 5, 2013 9:42 AMReply

    I'm not sure what happened here, but I saw the film yesterday and, having read the story about the DP, I paid special attention to the opening shot. As far as I could tell the entire shot was taken from outside the cage...there was nothing there that suggested to me that the DP was ever in danger of being hit by one of the motorcycles.

  • JM | April 5, 2013 2:48 PM

    The DP got hit, went to the hospital, they cancelled the shoot day, picked up the scene, didn't shoot inside the cage during pickups, used take from pickups.

  • Erik | April 5, 2013 10:23 AM

    Ah, fair enough. My understanding from the first article was that they'd actually used the second attempt at the shot with the DP actually in the cage, but I must have misinterpreted that. Thanks!

  • RP | April 5, 2013 9:49 AM

    i think after the DP got hit (and the shot was ruined), Cianfrance didn't let him back in the cage again and they used another take.

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