The Place Beyond The Pines ****

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“The Place Beyond The Pines” is not the film I expected. This is a fully engrossing epic that takes place over two different generations. Not a lot of movies take the time to full explore the decisions we make and how they impact our full life times as well as that of our children. This movie starts as a raw crime drama and ends up as an engrossing tragedy.

The film stars Ryan Gosling as Luke Glanton, a motorcycle stunt man who works with a travelling state fair. During a stop in Altamont New York he runs in to Romina (Eva Mendes), an ex lover whom he unknowingly fathered a child with. After meeting his son he decides to quite his job and try to settle down with her and be with his family. He takes a job at a run down auto body shop run by Robin who was once a bank robber. Eventually Luke turns to robbing banks to make ends meat for his family.

Eventually his story crosses paths with Avery Cross played by Bradley Cooper. He is an honest police officer surrounded by almost endless corruption in his department.

More of the plot I dare not say because it does not turn out like you think it will. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the director and screen writers had freed themselves from the shackles of one genre constraints and decided to simply examine a series of characters through different periods of their lives.

Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling play very different characters but are equally powerful in their respective roles.

Eventually we meet their sons played by Emory Cohen and Dane DeHaan. I can’t say anything about their personal stories as it would really ruin the movie. What I will say is that they turn up for the last third of the film and almost steal it away from the veteran actors.

The director is Derek Cianfrance, who also directed Gosling in 2010’s “Blue Valentine”, which I have not seen yet. I have been told that it was stellar. Based on this movie I am definitely on the look out to see it.

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