The Place Beyond the Pines
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Writer: Derek Cianfrance, Ben Coccio, Darius Marder
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne, Dane DeHaan, Emory Cohen, Ben Mendelsohn, Bruce Greenwood, Mahershala Ali, Gabe Fazio, Ray Liotta
Luke (Ryan Gosling) is a motorcycle stunt driver. But when he finds out that Romina (Eva Mendes) – with whom he had a fling a year earlier – had his son, he decides to give up his job and stay near them and take care of them. But since he lacks the resources to do so properly, he starts to rob banks which puts him right in the path of Avery (Bradley Cooper), a young and ambitious police man.
I loved Blue Valentine and the cast of this movie is pretty damn good, so I expected big things. Unfortunately, I was sorely disappointed. The Place Beyond the Pines is boring, clichéd and way too long.
The first hour or so was pretty good. As long as Ryan Gosling was in the film, that is. But then Luke dies and it all goes downhill. And that has very little to do with Ryan Gosling not being in the film (though he was fantastic as usual and I could have gone on watching him) and everything to do with the script. It just felt like the writers had written themselves into a corner and then they had to go on and on and on to find at least some kind of ending.
And that even though there were several moments where you could and probably should have called it quits. Especially the “15 years later” thing were Luke’s and Avery’s sons (Dane DeHaan and Emory Cohen respectively) face off just dragged on and on and on and I was so ready to go home already, I couldn’t bring myself to be interested anymore. [Also, I didn’t appreciate the message of “sons will always be like their fathers, no matter what.”]
At least the cast was excellent. But when the movie entered its third hour, I started to hate them all. The only ones I didn’t grow bored with were Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes and Ray Liotta (who does his usual Ray Liotta slimy police guy but he does it so well, it is brilliant).
I couldn’t help but wishing that the movie had just stayed with Luke and, after he’s shot, with Romina and her relationship with Kofi (Mahershala Ali) because I really, really liked those two and I wanted to know about their family. But unfortunately we got so many daddy issues that even the Nolans are probably looking at this film in envy and over all the issues, the storytelling was forgotten.