By Darlene Donloe
The Place Beyond The Pines is one of the best movies of 2013. It’s a powerfully crafted drama that has a multi-layered storyline. Chock full of detours and unlikely scenarios, it keeps the audience on its toes with an intensity that doesn’t let up.
First we get introduced to Luke (Academy Award nominee Ryan Gosling), a popular and legendary motorcycle rider, who upon learning he has a son, decides to rob banks in order to support the child and its mother, Romina (Eva Mendes). He quickly becomes quite proficient at robbing. But, he eventually gets greedy one too many times.
Enter policeman Avery, played by Golden Globe and Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper. Set on rising in the ranks, Avery is dogged when it comes to taking down Luke. Eventually the two men butt heads. The consequences of Avery’s confrontation with Luke will reverberate into the next generation.
BRADLEY COOPER as OFFICER AVERY
Fast-forward 15 years – and the male offspring of both Luke and Avery become the focal point of the film. The boys Jason (Dane DeHaan) and AJ (Emory Cohen) become friends. Both have an edge. Both like drugs. Both are delinquents.
It now becomes a movie about fathers and sons and sons and sons.
With a fair amount of character development and character arc, Cianfrance’s film weaves together a satisfying fare that at times keeps the audience on the edge of its seat.
RYAN GOSLING & EVA MENDES
Admittedly, it takes a minute for the story to get started. The first third of the movie is a bit long, but that doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining.
Director Derek Cianfrance’s epic drama gives its characters room to breathe. There are several fine performances, especially that of Gosling and Mendes. Ray Liotta is he usually creepy self, while Bradley Cooper shows another side to his acting skills.
In describing his movie, Cianfrance said, “It’s about legacy – what we’re born with and what we pass on. It’s about the choices we make and how those choices echo throughout generations. It’s a classic tale of the sins of the father being visited upon the son.”
The Place Beyond The Pines is a winner!
The Place Beyond The Pines, directed by Derek Cianfrance, written by Cianfrance, Ben Coccio and Darius Marder, stars Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne, Ray Liotta, Dane DeHaan, Bruce Greenwood and Ben Mendelsohn.
EVA MENDES & RYAN GOSLING
Running time: 2 hr., 20 min. MPAA Rating: R (for language throughout, some violence, teen drug and alcohol use, and a sexual reference)
On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (OK) and E (excellent), The Place Beyond The Pines gets an E (excellent).