Few films mirror the experience of reading a book with cinema and novels being two very different mediums of storytelling. They’re each structured specifically to enhance the story through the way you consume them. As a film buff and avid reader, I appreciate both. But sometimes I fall upon a book that feels quite more cinematic than most or even more rarely, a film that feels little more like a book than others. In regards to the latter, with director Derek Cianfrance’s films, I always get that vibe. Not to say they are less cinematic than other films. By far, they are astonishing feats of filmmaking. But the way Cianfrance unfolds a story, measures its pace, and crafts characters through such defined and nuanced moments fall in line with novelized storytelling – in a very pleasantly surprising way.
Where Cianfrance uses this – I suppose – signature style of his so effectively in Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines, it’s a bit of a bummer that it doesn’t work as well with a story like the one in his latest film, The Light Between Oceans. Starring Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander, we explore the story of a couple who through tragedy make a decision that ultimately may separate them forever. It’s billed as an epic and melodramatic romance, a sure departure from the director’s previous work that makes you wonder what exactly attracted him to the project.