Place Beyond the Pines: Starts out well, but ends up a soap opera

Gary Wolcott, atomictown.comApril 18, 2013 

In The Place Beyond the Pines, Ryan Gosling is Luke. He's a carnival star and motorcycle stuntman. When his show hits one of its yearly stops, Luke learns he's the father of a baby boy from a one-night stand a year earlier. Determined to be a father to his child, Luke bags life in the fast lane.

He tries hard to woo the boy's mother, Eva Mendes' Romina, but she's living semi-happily with another man. Since Luke's mechanic skills don't bring in much business, he and a friend rob banks so Luke can support the child.

The end of act one leads Luke to act two and a deadly confrontation with Bradley Cooper's Avery. He's a lawyer-turned-cop who via the robberies lands on the wrong side of some corrupt colleagues. Act three is about the results of what Luke and Avery did in a confrontation after one of the bank robberies.

The acting is superb. In dark dramas, Gosling does what he does best, a stoic character. Cooper evolves from guilt personified to self-absorbed. He's an exceptional actor who excels at both. The supporting cast, too, is up to the task.

The plot is not.

Director and co-writer Derek Cianfrance's film starts well. It's complex, has a gritty, violent side to it and is very well done. Acts one and two are pretty good. Two out of three is a great average in baseball but not in the movies. By the time Cianfrance (Blue Valentine) gets to the third act, it's a soap opera -- not a very good one.

The Place Beyond the Pines

Director: Derek Cianfrance

Stars: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta, Rose Byrne, Bruce Greenwood, Ben Mendelsohn

Mr. Movie rating: 2 1/2 stars

Rated R for violence, language, brief nudity, mature themes. It's playing at the Carmike 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service