The Place Beyond the Pines Movie Review

Mainstream audiences may be disappointed that this isn't a gritty thriller pitting the acting talents of Gosling and Cooper against each other, as it's instead a boldly artful, often moving drama. The three-part structure may soften the emotional punch, but a raw script and intimate direction let the actors find real resonance in every scene.

The title is a loose translation of the Mohawk word Schenectady, the New York town where the story is set. In the first section, carnival stunt rider Luke (Gosling) returns to town and tries to rekindle a previous fling with Romina (Mendes). When he discovers that his last visit produced a son, he decides to leave the circus and settle down, taking a job with a local mechanic (Mendelsohn). To make some extra cash, the two team up to rob banks, which puts Luke on a collision course with beat cop Avery (Cooper), who has a wife (Byrne) and young son of his own. Years later, their now-teen sons Jason and AJ (DeHaan and Cohen) discover a past connection they knew nothing about.

To explore the generational ramifications of these men's actions, the film switches perspective twice, first from Luke to Avery and finally to Jason and AJ. But the script never simplifies anyone into "good" or "bad": these are complex people facing difficult situations the best way they can. And sometimes their choices lead to tragic consequences. With this structure, though, the characters are somewhat fragmented, and only Avery emerges as a fully rounded figure, giving Cooper the best role in the film as he becomes unable to work out what is right and wrong, even though he knows it in his gut.

But all of the actors are excellent. Gosling and Mendes find searing chemistry between them. And DeHaan and Cohen deliver their meatiest performances to date. To make this work, director Cianfrance keeps his direction tight, sticking so close to each character that scenes sometimes feel uncomfortably intimate. And he also finds real beauty in even the most squalid settings, while scenes get darker and more emotional as the story progresses over about 15 years. So even if the film feels overlong and fractured, it still gets under the skin in ways that linger.

Rich Cline

Cast & Crew

Director : Derek Cianfrance

Producer : Lynette Howell, , Alex Orlovsky, Jamie Patricof

Comments

The Place Beyond the Pines Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: 15, 2013

Advertisement

More Bradley Cooper

Can Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper Recreate Oscar Magic in 'Serena'? [Trailer]

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper certainly appear to have a connection on-screen. Both were Oscar-nominated for Silver Linings Playbook - with Lawrence going on to...

Serena Trailer

As the Great Depression begins to sweep across America, George Pemberton (Bradley Cooper) and Serena Shaw (Jennifer Lawrence) meet and fall in love. The whirl-wind...

A Week In Movies: Expendables And Bradley Cooper Spotted In London, New Trailers For St. Vincent, Into The Woods And More

The world premiere of The Expendables 3 took place this week in London, attended by Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Antonio Banderas, Kellan Lutz and Wesley...

Just Where Has Chris Pratt Come From?

Who is Chris Pratt? Now, he’s the main star in one of the most talked about films in the Marvel Studios’ collection. He’s slim, he’s...

Advertisement

'Guardians Of The Galaxy' - Marvel's New Super Franchise?

Guardians of the Galaxy was given a big platform to live up to before its official release with many calling the tenth Marvel instalment the...

Guardians of the Galaxy Propels Seventies Music to Top of Charts

Guardians of the Galaxy's quest for world domination seems to be going pretty well- the film has not only slain at the box office, it's...

With A $95 Million Box Office Prediction: Is ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ On Course To Break Box Office Records?

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy looks to be sailing on course to become one of the studio’s biggest movies of all time, thanks to an...

A Week In Movies: Get On Up Premieres, Cooper Cooks In London, Trailers For Tusk, Mockingjay, The Hobbit And Mad Max

The stars came out for the New York premiere this week of Get on Up, starring Chadwick Boseman as Godfather of Soul James Brown. He...

Advertisement