Derek Cianfrance, 2012
Ambitiously novelistic in scope, Cianfrance’s follow-up to Blue Valentine begins with Ryan Gosling as a death-defying stunt biker who finds emotional hurdles harder to overcome when confronted with unexpected fatherhood. Then, bravely, the focus shifts and we follow Bradley Cooper’s bent cop with a conscience and a kid of his own, who crosses paths with Gosling’s biker bandit. But upstaging them both are Dane DeHaan and Emory Cohen – two newcomers in a “sins of the fathers” epilogue of brooding intensity. They and Cianfrance are names to watch.