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The Place Beyond the Pines

The Place Beyond the Pines Poster.jpgDerek Cianfrance’s last film Blue Valentine, was one of the best reviewed films of 2010.  It was one of Ryan Gosling’s best roles to date, and Cianfrance asks for his assistance here to play the role of Luke.  Luke is motor-cross stuntman that travels the country as a daredevil rider.  He’s a vagabond that comes and goes as he pleases, but he decides to give up that life when he finds out that Romina (Eva Mendes) a woman he had a one night stand with in the current town he is in, birthed their child.  Romina has another man in her life, but that doesn’t stop him.  Luke decides to do everything in his power to provide for his new-found family.  Without any income he decides to partner up with fellow criminal Robin and begin robbing banks.

Luke and Robin’s plan is flawless, for a while. He goes in robs the place, hops on his bike, and Robin picks him up in a moving man so they can go on their way undetected.  The problem is that Robin knows when to get out  when the getting’s good, Luke however becomes greedy and decides to keep robbing the banks on his own.  An up and coming cop Avery (Bradley Cooper) sets out to stop the robberies and make a name for himself in the process.

Avery lives in a world of crooked cops and politics, yet we are expected to believe he is the one true law-man that is decent and good.  He may start that way, but his eyes will begin to open over the course of the film.  His journey is the most compelling out of all of the characters.

I like the idea of The Place Beyond the Pines.  It’s a film that tries to come full circle by telling the story of how lives cross paths, through the eyes of three separate characters.  Character’s actions will yield consequences throughout the course of the film.  Those consequences will manifest themselves in very distinct and profound ways.  As  I said I like the ‘idea’ of the film, the plausibility of the film is something entirely different.

Cianfrance, who also co-wrote the film, does a great job of telling a compelling story.  However, by chopping the story up into three distinct parts he takes away from some of the momentum that the film begins to build.  The film ends in a very different place than where it began, and in this case it feels very disjointed.  The parts in the end reach a little too far in coming to a very profound conclusion.

Gosling and Cooper are both great in their respective roles, and I think if they weren’t then this film would fail miserably because of the heavy handed plot.  The wheels start to fall off in act III.

In the end The Place Beyond the Pines is entertaining as three short stories.  I just wish the glue between those stories held it together a little bit better.

Grade: B