Movie Reviews

Movie Review: The Place Beyond The Pines

The three part story starts with a promising narrative, but its lack of cohesion and reliance on melodramatic coincidences turn it into a contrived and scattered pieces of vignettes.

The highly anticipated new drama from director Derek Cianfrance (“Blue Valentine”) powerfully explores the consequences of motorcycle rider Luke’s (Academy Award nominee Ryan Gosling) fateful decision to commit a crime to support his child. The incident renders him targeted by policeman Avery (Golden Globe Award nominee Bradley Cooper), and the two men become locked on a tense collision course which will have a devastating impact on both of their families in the years following. (c) Focus

The Place Beyond The Pines is divided into three parts. The first, featuring a stunt motorcycle rider called Handsome Luke (Ryan Gosling), promises an interesting narrative about fatherhood.

Luke is eager to become a suitable father to an infant son that he didn’t knew he had, but his best intentions get warped by his desperation to provide for his family. He resorts to robbery, and soon the cops catch up. Gosling’s character mirrors his previous role in Drive, but with a more melodramatic story.

The whole cast is great, even though Ray Liotta is under-served. Bradley Cooper is decent in a dramatic role.

However the film quickly loses its way as the narrative shifts to Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper).

Avery’s subplot is unnecessary. The characters are mere pawns to move along a contrived plot. When another plot twist moves the film 15 years later to the next generation, only the women aged.

The third part comes in to glue all the pieces together but the movie is too far off from what it originally set out to do and fails emotionally to make a connection. The fate of the sons is predictable.

The film aims to explore fate and fatherhood, as well as show how the sins of the father are passed on to the son, but fails to execute it convincingly. Its sprawling ambition became its own handicap. If the film focused on Luke’s story, it would have been more compelling.

The film is filled with good performances, great cinematography, and an apt musical score. The concept is commendable. But instead of a three part epic what you get are disparate vignettes connected by coincidences.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Fan Art by Vincent Gabriele

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