The Place Beyond the Pines

Ryan Gosling reunites with director Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine) for The Place Beyond the Pines, an ambitious and sprawling character drama that focuses on the lives of two men—motorcycle rider turned bank robber Luke (Gosling) and policeman Avery (Bradley Cooper)—and their families as their worlds collide one fateful day. The film takes place over three acts spanning several years, with each focusing on a different character. It’s an interesting way to structure the film. The first, Gosling-led act nails the dark tone of Luke’s descent into crime as a way to support his new family. It dovetails into the more ambitious, slightly weaker Cooper-led act. Cooper’s act spans over a longer period of time, and the tone of his act is different from Gosling’s; while it’s strong, it doesn’t quite capture the impact of the first act. The third act, jumping forward several years, features Dane DeHaan (Chronicle) as a teenager with connections to Avery and Luke. While DeHaan holds his own compared to his more well-known co-stars, the act’s attempt to put the other two into perspective makes it the weakest of the three, unfortunately weakening an otherwise stellar film.

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