‘The Place Beyond the Pines’ review

Posted: May 17, 2013 in Movies, Reviews

A tale about fathers, family and fate – The Place Beyond the Pines studies how interconnected two families become after a bank robbery goes wrong.

Director Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine) tells the tale of Luke (Ryan Gosling, a stunt motorcycle rider who turns to a life of crime as a way to provide for a newborn son he didn’t know he had.  The mother of his child, played by Eva Mendes (where as she been lately?), thinks he’s changed but after Luke has a run-in with Mendes new flame, Kofi (Mahershala Ali), Luke is sent to jail.  Once he’s out on bail he decides the only way to win his former love back is to provide solely for his newborn child.  After a robbery gone bad, Luke’s life takes a turn for the worse at the hand of a local beat cop, Avery Scott (Bradley Cooper).  The events following the botched robbery will forever change both Avery’s family and Luke’s.

The movie is very much Cooper’s but the best scenes come from when Gosling is on screen, which is only for a good third of the film.  It’s just a testament to the kindof actor that Gosling is.  Don’t get me wrong, Cooper does a fine job playing a good cop gone bad gone good again, but he just doesn’t chew scenes like Baby Goose.  Ray Liotta plays yet another dirty cop (doesn’t he always?) while Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek, Flight) plays a district attorney who prosecutes dirty cops.  The supporting cast is fantastic but they don’t get enough screen time either.

The film takes a leap in time – 15 years in fact – where both main characters kids are teenagers – and examines how the effects of the past have on the next generation of our family’s.  It’s an ambitious way to tell a story but the film’s last act really gets lost and both young actors, Dane DeHaan & Emory Cohen, are in way over their head (although I’m a big fan of DeHaan).  The film’s last act really takes Cooper out of his element and makes him shell of the character he played for the entire movie.

The Place Beyond the Pines is an excellent movie for about an hour and a half, but after that it gets lost in its own story.

 

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