Generally, a film will focus on a specific topic and a specific person or group of people. Occasionally, we’re given films that look beyond that singularity in order to tell a story that puts down roots and works to avoid being shallow. The Place Beyond the Pines is one of those films. Instead of telling a single story of a few people, the film explores a deeper, more complex story and how that story has far reaching effects.
When Luke (Ryan Gosling), a motorcycle stuntman in a traveling show, comes back to town, Romina (Eva Mendes) can’t stay away. While she speaks to him briefly, she finds it difficult to tell him their fling the previous year resulted in a son. When Luke finds out about the child, he offers to put down roots and support Romina and the child. He wants them to start a family. She’s reluctant. To make money, Luke begins robbing banks with a mechanic he works for. Although the robberies start out well for Luke, inevitably, one eventually goes bad. The robbery has a lasting effect on not just Luke but also his family.
Gosling and Mendes are only the first third of The Place Beyond the Pines. The second third focuses on a police officer portrayed by Bradley Cooper. The final third focuses on Luke and Romina’s son (Dane DeHaan). The momentum that the film builds up from chapter to chapter can be lost as it segue ways into different characters and different storylines. It’s a complex story that can feel lengthy at times and engrossing at others.
Photo by Atsushi Nishijima