The Place Beyond the Pines is Derek Cianfrance’s follow up to his acclaimed feature film, 2010’s Blue Valentine. In his new offering, Ryan Gosling plays Luke: a stunt driver who turns to a life of crime and bank robbing in an attempt to provide for his young son and his mother (though they live with another man). After a botched bank job, Luke’s life becomes entwined with a young cop Avery (played by Bradley Cooper), which will eventually have an affect the life of everyone in both their lives.
It’s hard to review this film without giving away pivotal moments in the plot. What I will say is, the narrative depends on the viewer’s ability to spend a third of the film engaging with one character before later identifying with another, then switching again in the third act; which is slightly problematic as this makes it difficult to emotionally invest in both the story as a whole and the characters. The three acts also seem a bit disjointed. There is not much more to connect each one apart from the glaringly obvious factor of the characters having known one another in some way, and this renders the plot slightly meaningless.
While there were many good performances, Gosling’s just wasn’t believable. This is a role he has played many times, but did so a lot better in Blue Valentine and Drive. Maybe Luke is a character he has done one to many times now.
In The Place Beyond the Pines Derek Cianfrance has attempted to make something epic, but in doing so forgets to appeal to the audience’s emotional sensibilities. In the end I just didn’t really care.
Also starring: Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne, Emory Cohen, Dane DeHaan, Mahershala Ali, Ray Liotta
UK release date: 12th April