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‘Place Beyond the Pines’ Flies Onto Awards Radar

Focus Features’ “The Place Beyond the Pines” is being buoyed by an awards factor that is often overlooked: In-flight movies. At a Friday luncheon, Bradley Cooper told Variety, “Countless people have come up to me to tell me how much they love the movie, and it turns out they’ve seen it recently on airplanes.”

Cooper is in L.A. for a few days, on a brief Thanksgiving hiatus from the untitled Cameron Crowe movie that’s filming in Hawaii. Focus took advantage of his presence to salute “Pines” at the Soho House.

Some pundits consider the film below the radar, since it opened in April instead of the usual awards-heavy fourth quarter. But writer-director Derek Cianfrance said he’s surprised at how many people, including awards voters, have seen his film two or three times.

Even with really good films, the audience can usually guess after 20 minutes how the film will end. That’s not the case with “Pines.” Cianfrance has enough plot twists to throw viewers off balance, and many people have told him they appreciated it more the second time, watching how everything connects.

Producer Jamie Patricof said on first viewing, many people have praised the complexity of Cianfrance’s work. “But it’s actually a linear story about family, and fathers and sons,” and that theme is brought home in the third act.

Patricof is proud of the film, which he labeled “one of the best films of the year,” but conceded that it was released “at an odd time.” Focus bought the film at the 2012 Toronto Festival, always with the goal of a spring opening.

In a year jammed with great films, some voters won’t have time to catch up on all the fourth-quarter entries. But thanks to an early mailing of the “Pines” screeners and the in-flight options, the April bow may turn out to be an advantage.  If so, that would be another great plot twist to Cianfrance’s saga.

 

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