Coming to theatres from director Derek Cianfrance and Focus Features is a tale that can only be told about THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES.
This film tells the story of Luke (Ryan Gosling) a tattooed, daring, hard-assed stunt motorcycle rider. During one show he meets Romina (Eva Mendes) and they have a brief affair and go their separate ways. One year later at another show, Romina makes herself known and Luke is surprised to see her.
What surprises Luke even more is that he discovers Romina had a baby – his son. He decides to stay in town and be a part of the boys’ life. Trying to find a way to make money he meets Jack (Craig Van Hook) who clues him in on a life of robbing banks. Time and time again Luke puts his life on the line for a few bucks.
What is a thrill soon turns deadly as Luke meets Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper), a cop who wants to move up the ladder quickly. In one instant these two men have crossed paths that will lead them through another fifteen years and into the lives of two young boys.
It is a legacy of pain with a refuge in a place beyond the pines.
FINAL WORD: Gosling has gotten quite good at playing these rebel roles. The angry young man that requires solitude, tattoos and a motorcycle to fill the gap in his life. Playing Luke he once again proves that taking these roles is a risk and a win for him.
Cooper as Avery Cross is interesting to watch because this time we see his character go from a police officer to a political official. In the middle of that is a marriage and a teenage rebellious son. I don’t believe we have seen Cooper as the father of a teenage son before. As Cross he clearly thinks more of his own needs than that of the people around him.
Mendes continues to play the victim in her roles. As Romina, having the baby is clearly a choice and playing hard to get with Goslings character doesn’t do a thing for me. I have to mention this as well, Mendes – please wear a bra from now on because I’ll never be able to look at you right again. If doing that was suppose to make your character look trashy it succeeded. Gawd, I’m so glad I finally got that off my bra-wearing chest!
Other cast include: Olga Merediz as Malena, Mahershala Ali as Kofi, Rev. John Facci as the Priest, Ben Mendelsohn as Robin, Gabe Fazio as Scott, Rose Byrne as Jennifer, Harris Yulin as Al Cross, Robert Clohessy as Chief Weirzbowski and Bruce Greenwood as Bill Killcullen.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. I do this with a slight hesitancy because truthfully it is clearly to long. I loved the story, the acting and the idea of the film but there did not need to be long drawn out scenes of pull away staring shot in order to get the point across.
Now, that being said it is beautifully shot with nice twists and turns with unexpected outcomes. The acting is superb by Gosling and Cooper. These are amazing roles that fit both of these actors so well. It will be interesting to see the take by viewers of the film.
Its also difficult to talk to much about the film without giving things away that lend to the story so if I seem a little vague know that it comes from not wanting to spoil anything!
In the end – it’s a road of pain they all must travel.
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