The Place Beyond The Pines

place beyond the pines


Fairground stunt rider Luke (Ryan Gosling), after discovering he has a young son becomes determined to provide for him. He begins robbing banks as a means of providing for his newly discovered family leading him into the path of up and coming officer (Bradley Cooper).



With Ryan Gosling’s recent announcement that he will be taking a break from acting to pursue his directing career, aside from causing mass panic from the entire female population was also a glaring reminder (as if we needed one) of what a talent he is. Right from the first scene, we are introduced to Gosling; tattooed-chest first, casually toying with a flick knife as the camera follows him to the big top for his Circus stunt ride.  When an old flame (Eva Mendes) appears after the show and he finds out he has a son, his misguided wishes lead him to a life of mechanic by day, motorcycle bank robber by night. Gosling’s powerful charisma is the highlight of the film and from the moment he nervously wipes his hands before holding his son for the first time to his attempts to his bank-robbing escapades we care about him, despite his lack of thought for the consequences of his actions (a fair assumption of anyone who would get a face tattoo) .  As his friend warns him (A wonderfully grubby Ben Mendelsohn) ‘If you ride like lighting you’re going to crash like thunder’.





While it lacks the raw emotional power of the sublime Blue Valentine (2010), director Derek Cianfrance‘s second teaming with Gosling still has moments of brilliance.  Bradley Cooper’s wide-eyed policeman who begins to realise the levels of corruption in the force is also strong and a solid follow up to his Oscar nominated turn in Silver Linings Playbook.

The first forty minutes of the film are wonderful though as the story progresses rather than crashing like thunder, it rather peters along to a conclusion. Not one to rush things, Cianfrance tries to accomplish too much towards the end and while the actors playing Gosling and Cooper’s sons are good, they can’t match the calibre of the older cast-members.

Had the entire film matched the quality of the first half it would be an instant classic. Unevenness in the tone can be slightly jarring  though it still a thought provoking piece about the consequences of ones action and the impacts they can have.  Many will undoubtedly leave the cinema wishing Gosling had more screen time, we’re not ready to loose him just yet!



Verdict: ***1/2




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