A Place Beyond the Pines (USA, 2012, Focus Features), masterfully written and directed by Derek Cianfrance, is an incredibly ambitious, novel-like exploration of how fate is challenged and often reinforced by intentions and consequences. Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper play characters on opposite sides of the law whose paths cross in ways that not only change their lives but the lives of those around them. This three-part, Coppola-esque epic takes a lot of risks with its narrative but ultimately succeeds because of fantastic filmmaking.
Denis Villeneuve is quite possibly the next David Fincher and proves it with Prisoners (USA, 2013, Warner Brothers), a powerful and nearly perfect movie about the difficult subject of child abduction. When two young girls disappear on Thanksgiving, three families and a mysterious-yet-dedicated detective (Jake Gyllenhaal in arguably his best performance to date) come together for a riveting look at the darkness of desperation, blurring the lines between judgment and guilt. Available on Vudu and Google Play.
Available on YouTube and Vudu