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Film Review – The Place Beyond The Pines

HTF’s Adam White gives his full and frank opinion of Ryan Gosling and Bradley Coopers new drama The Place Beyond The Pines.

Title: The Place Beyond The Pines

Cert: 15

Release Date12th of April 2013

Never has there been such a misleading trailer as the for film ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’. In a feat of both brilliant marketing and pirate trickery, the movie is set up as a contemporary to ‘Drive’, only with motorbikes instead. With Ryan Gosling’s face plastered everywhere and lots of exciting bank robbing and nuts motorcycling, we wondered why they didn’t just call the film ‘Ride’. But on watching it, it’s not like that at all. It’s so much better.

With a name like ‘The Place Beyond The Pines’ (no one said it during the film to our disappointment) and the fact that it was showing in art house cinemas, we should have guessed something was up. The movie stars Ryan Gosling as “Handsome” Luke Glanton, a no good drifter riding in a traveling circus motorcycle stunt team.

On returning to a small town for the annual fair, Handsome learns that he has a baby son after a fling with Eva Mendes the year before. He promptly decides to “Stick around” as he puts it and take care of the little one, turning everyone’s lives upside down in the process. Using his unique skill set, Handsome starts robbing banks in the town to support the mother and child.

In a cruel turn of fate, the man to go after Handsome is his complete polar opposite. A brand new, straight out of the academy, perfectly correct and obedient officer, Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper). The crossings of the two men change each other’s lives for ever when a singular event affects not only the two involved, but their loved ones and even their newly born innocent children. The story is that of responsibility and consequence. With Gosling doing the wrong things for the right reasons and Cooper doing the right things for the wrong reasons, it has an interesting dynamic on how character is perceived in society. The heavily tattooed criminal versus the suited and booted law school graduate being flipped on its head.

The acting from the players is top notch. Something we’ve come to expect from Gosling but here he is rivaled by Cooper. Not regarded as a very heavy hitter, his best known film being ‘The Hangover’ after all, Cooper is amazing as the cop constantly trying to justify his immoral actions in an internal fight with himself. A much more sedate but feeling job then we are used to from the actor. The production from relatively unknown director and Ryan Gosling fanatic, Derek Cianfrance, is good. This is only his second feature but also his second headed by Gosling. The 140 minute show is well paced with equal amounts of action and acting. With scenes ranging from large open expanses to tight intimate council, occasionally having camera focuses so soft that they will strain your eyes.

An amazing film that is never what you’re expecting, ‘The Place Beyond The Pines’ is an insightful look into social perception, personal grief, and the rights and wrongs of life. An interesting film and something different from just blowing things up, it could be said that this is a masterpiece of modern filmmaking.


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