Only a small number of my fellow critics would second this assertion, but for my money, Derek Cianfrance is one of the most exciting new voices in American filmmaking. His excruciating relationship drama Blue Valentine got some career-best work out of Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling in 2010 (and snagged Williams a Best Actress Oscar nomination), and while his audacious dramatic triptych The Place Beyond The Pines received mixed notices, it gave Ryan Gosling another great role as a stunt biker-turned-criminal and wove an epic narrative of fathers and the sins they bequeath to their sons. He’s an actor’s director with a young mastery over the fusion of sound and image, so a new film from Cianfrance is cause for excitement.
For his third feature, Cianfrance has chosen to relate another tale of intense human emotion with a typically weighty cast. His upcoming adaptation of M.L. Stedman’s novel The Light Between Oceans is due Sept. 2, and now a new trailer surfaced onto the internet like a small infant-bearing paddleboat washing ashore. Which just so happens to be what happens in the film; Alicia Vikander and Michael Fassbender play a married couple whiling away their days while maintaining a lighthouse on an isolated segment of Australian shoreline, until they one day discover a baby girl on the beach like Moses in the bulrushes and take her in. It’s all well and good until the young girl’s true mother comes a-calling wondering what ever happened to her infant daughter, leading to emotionally charged debates over what makes someone a parent, continuing the thematic work right where The Place Beyond The Pines left off.
With Rachel Weisz in the cast, that makes three towering thespians for Cianfrance to make use of, so audiences can expect a first-class act-off when this film makes it to theaters in September. The trailer embedded above offers some stunning vistas of natural beauty to go along with the breathtaking extremes of human emotion, creating a wider-scale experience than has ever been attempted in Cianfrance’s small oeuvre. Before the mad orgy of Oscar maneuvering kicks into high gear in September, schedule a little time to take a breath and take in what looks to be a quiet but moving sort of picture.