The Place Beyond the Pines (Derek Cianfrance)

Generational sagas come few and far between, so it’s refreshing to see one ably pulled off within a manageable length. See this one to witness how to pass the protagonist baton not just once but twice within the same film. The first handoff in particular stands out, as the film’s two top-billed actors share a beat of eye contact moments before one exits the narrative for good. Also worth noting is the use of the forest location to gather in the sprawling timeframe. Seemingly incidental at first, the woods gather force as the years roll on, witness to a history the characters themselves are often unaware of.

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