"The Place Beyond The Pines" debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival on Friday night, marking the first public showing of the newest Ryan Gosling film.
"'The Place Beyond The Pines' is a cinematic accomplishment of extraordinary grace and insight," wrote Kevin Jagernauth on the Indiewire blog The Playlist.
At Movieline, Frank DiGiacomo called "Pines" a "seriously good movie," before adding that the film's strong performances -- from Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes and Dane DeHaan and Ben Mendelsohn -- would make "figuring out who to honor with a nomination" difficult for Academy voters.
Directed by Derek Cianfrance (who last worked with Gosling on "Blue Valentine"), "Place Beyond the Pines" sprawls out over 15 years and tells the story of a bank-robbing stunt motorcycle driver (Gosling), a cop-turned-politician (Cooper) and how their tangled relationship affects their sons.
"Except for the bank-robbing and road-chase sequences I didn't believe a single moment in this film," Hollywod Elsewhere blogger Jeffrey Wells wrote in one of the film's few pans. "I couldn't buy any of it. Okay, I bought some of it."
You can't have Gosling play a simple-dick man of few words who entertains audiences with his talent as a motorcycle rider and then turns to bank-robbing on the side -- that's way too close to his stunt-driving, getaway-car character in 'Drive.'
Plus I don't respond well to movies with female-voiced choral music (i.e., a caring, all-seeing God is watching over us) on the soundtrack plus other musical implications of doom and heavyosity.
Variety critic Peter DeBruge also thought "Place Beyond the Pines" was a misfire, writing that the film is "overlong and under-conceived." In his somewhat scathing review -- which also unfairly spoils one of the film's big plot twists -- DeBruge even plays amateur filmmaker, offering "Memento" up as an example of a film that Cianfrance should have followed.
The naysayers aside, the "Place Beyond the Pines" screening seems to have been a success. The film was picked up by Focus Features for release in 2013.
Check out more from TIFF 2012 below.