A motorcycle stunt rider turns to robbing banks as a way to provide for his lover and their newborn child, a decision that puts him on a collision course with an ambitious rookie cop navigating a department ruled by a corrupt detective.
A mysterious and mythical motorcycle racer, Luke, (Ryan Gosling) drives out of a traveling carnival globe of death and whizzes through the backstreets of Schenectady, New York, desperately trying to connect with a former lover, Romina, (Eva Mendes) who recently and secretly gave birth to the stunt rider's son. In an attempt to provide for his new family, Luke quits the carnival life and commits a series of bank robberies aided by his superior riding ability. The stakes rise as Luke is put on a collision course with an ambitious police officer, Avery Cross, (Bradley Cooper) looking to quickly move up the ranks in a police department riddled with corruption. The sweeping drama unfolds over fifteen years as the sins of the past haunt the present days lives of two high school boys wrestling with the legacy they've inherited. The only refuge is found in the place beyond the pines. Written by
The film includes appearance by director Cianfrance's wife Shannon Plumb as a woman in ice cream parlor. See more »
The beginning of the film takes place in the 1990s. The General Electric sign is shown with red and green lights. During this time, however, these colors were used only for Christmas time. It is clearly summer time when the film takes place, therefore the lights should have been white. However, in recent years, the lights remain red and green all year round. See more »
If you ride like lightning, you're going to crash like thunder.
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The place beyond the pines was a bold and magnificent effort by filmmaker Derek Cianfrance.
The movie is set with three major acts. The first focuses on Ryan Gosling, a motorcycle stunt rider who turns to robbing banks to support his new born child. This first act was executed with excellence. Gosling's character is a joy to watch, the soundtrack is phenomenally executed and the cinematography is so beautiful, not to mention Gosling's partner in crime also manages to give an outstanding performance.
The second act focuses on Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper), a rookie cop trying to move up the ranks with a family of his own. The second act was also executed with utter brilliance. Cooper's acting was beyond brilliant, his best yet in my opinion (including his recent Silver Linings Playbook). Cooper deserves to be rewarded for his beyond excellent portrayal of a good cop merely trying to fulfill his duties in a corrupt police department trying to profit from proceeds of crime. Cooper's conflict with the corrupt detective (Ray Liotta) is tension filled and a joy to watch.
The third act focuses on the son's of both Cooper and Gosling, who have both grown up to become teenagers. This is by far the weakest act in the movie in my opinion. Although I would rate this act as "good" of itself, it simply felt like it detracted from the overall viewing experience of the phenomenal first two acts. Although it seems the overarching purpose of the movie was to demonstrate the impact fatherhood (or lack of) has on kids, I felt that this last act was simply unnecessary.
The place beyond the pines was set to be an exceptional experience with the first two acts if it was tied up there, but the attempt to install the third act went too far. The attempt to demonstrate the impact fatherhood (or lack of) has on kids felt too rushed for it to have sufficient impact on me. The first two acts of themselves were extraordinary and the movie should have been left there! It didn't need to be stretched out to achieve some extended purpose sought out by the director.
Nevertheless, what we have are two excellent acts and one good one, which, in my opinion, would equate the movie to a "very good" viewing experience (as opposed to "excellent", "extraordinary" or "top of the range").
In my final opinion, I would highly recommend this movie for the first two acts alone.
PS I might also add that the introduction of Cooper's cop character Avery has to be one of the best introductions ever! It was so subtle and realistic. I loved it!
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