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258 out of 343 people found the following review useful:

Starts great but loses steam

Author: Chris Martin from United Kingdom
25 April 2013

The trailer to this film is rather misleading. It's the equivalent of advertising the whole of Disneyland with just clips of Space Mountain again and again. There's a lot more going on here than Ryan Gosling robbing banks and being a general badass in The Place Beyond The Pines. There are in fact at least three main characters all with their own story. And while the Ryan Gosling section is, a bit like Space Mountain at Disney, the best bit of the package he is only one part of a much bigger picture.

A motor bike stunt rider finds out he has a son so packs in his day job and takes the logical step of robbing banks to provide for him. The story deals with the family life of the man as well as a rookie cop who exposes his police department to be corrupt.

I found the film very absorbing from the start with Ryan Gosling's character development on fast forward so at least 3 massive life events all happen in the first 20 minutes of the film. There's not a lot of action scenes but when there are they're very tense and exciting.

The family life aspect is quite heartwarming and you do believe that his character does love his son and wants to provide for him. There are fantastic believable acting performances all round here with Ryan Gosling and later on Bradley Cooper really showcasing their acting talents. It's engaging and I really cared what happened to both of their characters.

The main problem with the film is it's length and not knowing when to stop. The first part of the film is constantly engaging and would be a nine out of ten if the film stayed like that the whole way through. When the focus shifts from characters however it really doesn't feel as exciting and almost feels like the start of totally different movie. A movie that isn't bad but is nowhere near as good as the one you've just seen.

Every story told is linked obviously but sometimes it feels a tad loose. There is a dramatic time shift when the film reaches the 100 minute mark and what follows really seems to drag. It never really felt like it was going anywhere. It was by no means boring however, it just lost a bit of steam towards the end. The Place Beyond The Pines is worth a watch but just be prepared to have you're socks blown off and then have them planted firmly back on your feet as the film continues.

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127 out of 178 people found the following review useful:

A story of trashy criminals and dirty cops evolving into one about fathers and sons and life

Author: napierslogs from Ontario, Canada
14 April 2013

What he have here is a story about fathers and their sons. In fact, three separate stories - each one leads into the next. A lesser movie would have just told one story, but "The Place Beyond the Pines" is larger in scope and needs all three parts to tell the complete story. A life is not just about your life but those you affect and those you leave behind for years to come.

The first father is Luke (Ryan Gosling) who didn't know he had a son until a girl whose name he happens to remember shows up with a one year- old son. Prior to that moment he was a daredevil with no ambitions, no money, and no care for his life. Now he's a father. A father with no money nor job. Wearing a dirty, inside-out, torn t-shirt and tattoos covering his arms, neck and face, he is the epitome of trash. But you know, the quiet, reserved, soulful, good-looking trash. And now that he's a father, he's going to care for his son however he can. He hooks up with his partner in crime, literally - Robin (Ben Mendelsohn). Together they are like a Hall & Oates version of Bonnie and Clyde.

In Schenectady, New York - the place beyond the pines - the only thing dirtier than the trashy criminals are the cops themselves. And then the second father is introduced. The character of Avery (Bradley Cooper) is carefully crafted into what should be the greatest human being on planet Earth. And he's a cop. And he's a father. And he's a son to a father who might have been but probably wasn't the greatest human being on planet Earth.

The film went for editing and filming styles to echo the characters' situations and actions. You can guess what that would look like when Gosling is racing through the forest on his motorcycle. But as we approach the more expansive ending, there are some beautiful shots of the trees lining Schenectady's countryside roads. That works particularly well with Cooper giving a remarkable performance of Avery constantly coming to grips with his life.

The final act tells a story very different from, but completely connected to, the two that came before it. It could have been tightened up a bit, but "The Place Beyond the Pines" isn't telling a quick story. It's telling the story of multiple lives, of death, family, love, honour and obedience. Employing overall themes of revenge, ambition, and what it means to be a father, and a son. I say it succeeds in its larger scope, even if it doesn't just tell a story the way one would want it to.

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188 out of 304 people found the following review useful:

An extraordinary movie that pulls the rug from under you

Author: Martin Bradley ( from Derry, Ireland
19 February 2013

You might call Derek Cianfrance's tremendous new movie "A Place Beyond the Pines" a blue-collar epic or a tragedy in three acts; it's certainly a drama in three acts. It runs for two hours and twenty minutes and it covers a period of about 17 years and there are really only about four major characters. To talk at all about the films storyline would be to spoil what is really an extraordinary narrative where even the coincidences of the third act seem to me to have resonance of great drama and it is magnificently played by its four principal actors.

Ryan Gosling, continuing to cement his reputation as the finest young actor of his generation, is Luke, an outlaw anti-hero worthy to stand beside any played by Dean or Newman. Bradley Cooper, so much more now that the light comedian of The Hangover movies, is Avery, the idealistic young rookie cop who finds the consequences of a single act of violence leads him down paths he previously may only have dreamed of and relative newcomers Dane DeHaan and Emory Cohen are sons in desperate need of a father's love and guidance.

This is bold and innovative film-making from Cianfrance with a strong emphasis on plot development. It plays out like a great page-turner of a novel but is in fact an original screenplay. After "Blue Valentine" this marks Cianfrance out as a major big league player.

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177 out of 291 people found the following review useful:

Amazing Film!

Author: pmoneymatt from United States
30 March 2013

The Place Beyond The Pines was a magnificent third feature from director Derek Cianfrance. The performances were outstanding and it was a great story. The three act structure was executed brilliantly and were all tied together in a very satisfying way.

The opening tracking shot was absolutely brilliant and did a great job establishing Ryan Gosling's character without any dialogue. The soundtrack, by Mike Patton, was impeccable and did a great job capturing the tone of the film.

The story of the film is really well told and does a great job dealing with multiple genres. This film will appeal to anyone who wants to watch captivating performances, intense drama, and a great story! I highly recommend it!

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98 out of 147 people found the following review useful:

An intriguing and diverse journey

Author: Anthony D'Andrea (LexLodon) from Bolingbrook, IL
12 April 2013

In an attempt to give away as little as possible about this film, obviously so that you can enjoy all of the phases as I was able to do, I would like to simply highlight my opinion about this movie. It was a great film and was very entertaining. I'd recommend you take a chance and go see this film. Expect some theatrical diversity and in the end it all comes back full circle.

I have nothing negative to say. The acting was mature and accurate. Each character was playing a role that suited their own set of talents superbly.

Try not to read too many reviews and just go and see this movie. You will not be disappointed.

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134 out of 224 people found the following review useful:

Too clichéd to be anything other than average

Author: whatalad from United Kingdom
17 March 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This review contains some plot details.

The Place Beyond The Pines deserves praise for its ambition to weave together three stories linked to the same event in an art house style, however the only people who will walk away from this thinking it's anything more than a nice looking cliché are those who must have seen very few films.

Director Derek Cianfrance's film suffocates under the weight of its own attempts to be an epic drama, spanning 15 years and three chapters in the lives of all involved. This is a perfect example of a film forcing itself to be something it's not; there is never enough character arc or substantial depth of character development to warrant the overbearing 150 minute running time.

As mentioned, the film is complied of three stories, the first of which is easily the most accomplished section of the film, albeit far from original. We follow Luke (Ryan Gosling), a man with a violent history who now wants to care for Romina (Eva Mendes) and their baby boy whom she has kept a secret from him and now lives with another man. He turns to robbing banks in the small town of Schenectady, New York, and gives her some of the cash he steals. So, a man with the love of a woman in his heart jumps on to the desk at a bank and points a gun... Heat, Public Enemies, The Town, Point Blank have all told a similar story over two hours allowing the audience to invest in the characters, not cramming it into 30-odd minutes.

The success of this section of the film comes not from the dialogue or set-up, but from the great performance by Ryan Gosling, channelling some of the brooding madman vibe we saw in Drive. Gosling is a very effective actor with this smaller, character-driven material and the difference between him here and in Gangster Squad couldn't be greater. Cianfrance also demonstrates both excellent and awful directorial decisions in this act; the opening tracking shot is tremendous as is a car/bike chase which shows a fantastic new way of capturing the action from inside the police car in a single take, but then Cianfrance ruins it all when the action goes hand-held and the shakycam comes out like Paul Greengrass with caffeine jitters.

The transition from story one into story two introduces Bradley Cooper as cop Avery Cross in a delightfully matter-of-fact manner, not the way you'd usually expect to see a movie star introduced; he simply appears as a cop giving chase when Luke is attempting to get away from his latest bank robbery. This was a very nice touch.

The second story, however, soon has little to do with the opening story. After events which won't get detailed here, the story goes into a police corruption scandal which is familiar to anyone who has seen a Sidney Lumet picture, Copland or even recent trash such as Pride and Glory. The film is now rapidly running out of steam as everything unfolding is a cliché of much better films (again, see Lumet's work) and the crime thriller aspect which was set-up in the opening third is now over and, essentially, a new film has begun, and we have to focus now on caring about Avery Cross. However, the corruption case is neatly resolved with no impact whatsoever on the characters or audience and then the dreaded '15 years later' title card appears.

Fifteen years on and the third story begins, and the cliché machine goes into overdrive and The Place Beyond The Pines loses any interest it may have had left. Luke's son and Avery's son become friends! They both like drugs! They have both missed father figures in their journey to adulthood! But, remember everyone, AVERY KILLED Luke, so this new friendship surely won't fall apart within 30 minutes and one of the boys won't do a Google search on their father and throw away 17 years of good upbringing bar the occasional recreational drug indulgence to take revenge on the cop who is now running for District Attorney! Oh... yes it does and yes they do. It's just screen writing by connecting the dots and is wholly disengaging and uninteresting.

This final story ultimately sums up The Place Beyond The Pines; trying making something out of nothing for there is really nothing under the surface. Crime thriller, corruption story, father and son Greek tragedy, revenge story, family drama; this film wants to be it all but ends up like a film adaptation of a 600 page novel which was never written. Shame, because it would probably make for a great novel as well.

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47 out of 62 people found the following review useful:

A Beautiful Tragic Epic of Karma and Decisions!

Author: robhartjr from United States
6 August 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am a fan of "The Gos"(Ryan Gosling). I admit I even tried to emulate him in "Drive" and "Crazy, Stupid, Love". He is a great actor and he always seems to make great movies whether they are mainstream or independent. He has already received recognition with an Oscar nomination for "Half Nelson". I was excited to see what character he would bring to life next when I heard about this movie. I saw the running time of 140 minutes and saw the trailer. I wondered how they were gonna make a movie of Gosling and Cooper last that long without dragging. Then I found out that Gosling is only in the first third of the movie despite him being the face of the movie. At first I felt disappointed, but I got over it because I know that isn't a way to judge a movie. So I went in after hearing mostly praise for this gem of a film.

If most of you haven't already figured out, the movie is divided into 3 acts. The first follows Luke(Gosling) a motorcyclist from a traveling carnival who quits upon finding out he has a son. He struggles to provide for the son Jason, who's mother Romina(Eva Mendez) is now with another man. He resorts to robbing banks. These actions lead into the Second act which follows Avery(Bradley Cooper) after he has a traumatic run in with Luke. Avery, a cop who also has a son, is struggling with corruption within the police station. Soon he finds a job as the Assistant DA. The third act takes place 15 years later. Now Luke and Averys sons Jason and AJ are teenagers. Soon they become frenemies. All of the actions from the first two acts collide into a dramatic finale. That is just the gist of the plot.

The first act was emotionally tense. This was also the best of the three acts in my opinion. Each act was like a mini movie. But this act could have been expanded into a separate movie if possible! It was intense, the dialogue with Ben Mendelsohns character was great. Ben Mendelsohn should really be recognized for Best Supporting Actor here. Gosling gives a great performance as an Outlaw type, but also a caring man who just wants to provide for his son.

The second act featured less of the emotion from the first act and more of the crime aspect of the movie. For a second I thought Martin Scorcese had taken over the script. That is a compliment. Cooper also does great acting here! At first you will hate his character, but as you realize what is going on, you will almost forget about the first act and now focus on the story of Avery!

The third act seems to be getting the least praise. I am confused with that. Some are saying it was unneeded. I strongly disagree with those opinions! This was the perfect way to end this story! Many people are complaining that it was too cliché to include this part. It wasn't as good as the first two acts, but it was still great. The fact that the two sons meet and become friends is intriguing. It makes you wonder what will happen scene after scene. Great climatic ending to the movie!

The directing is top notch. This movie is beautiful to watch. It did what movies that use an overload of CGI mostly can't do. It told a genuinely good and tension filled story. I do like some movies with some good CGI, but I love movies that don't rely on special effects even more! The acting was stunning from all members of the cast. Its hard to choose a best actor between Gosling and Cooper, but there is no doubt in my mind that Ben Mendelsohn did a magnificent job in his supporting role! The story of this movie is gut wrenching. Its a drama. Its a crime drama. Its a thriller. Its even a R rated High School movie in the final act at times. It is a modern epic tragedy. It is a tale of karma and decisions. I personally think it is much better than Director Derek Cianfrances last film with Gosling "Blue Valentine". This movie had me on the edge of my seat throughout, especially in the third act. Again regarding the third act, I think most people aren't too keen with it because of the way one of the teens talks throughout. I got used to it within 5 minutes though as I thought it was actually a nice touch. The music of the movie is brilliantly placed too. The musical score by Mike Patton was haunting and beautiful. The track "Snow Angel" is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever created for film. The main theme cuts deep especially the way it was used in the film! Stay with the credits to finalize the experience because the song "The Wolves" by Bon Iver that plays is a true emotional masterpiece that goes well with the movie that preceded it!

I recommend this movie to anybody that loves a genuinely good original movie. This movie does demand your full attention though. If needed, you might have to put on the subtitles to fully understand some of the less audible dialogue. But that is your personal choice. This is a great movie for men particularly, whether you're a father, a son or both. This movie is great for women too, but men will have a more personal experience! This movie will stick with you either way!

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82 out of 138 people found the following review useful:

A Quiet Journey

Author: elevenangrymen from United States
8 September 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Derek Cianfrance's The Place Beyond The Pines is a visual odyssey, if nothing else. It is also an intense character study of three people. And it's a good film.

The story is of Luke, a motorcycle stuntman, who quits his job after he finds out that Romina, played by Eva Mendes, his ex-girlfriend was pregnant and had his child. The trouble is, she married another man. Luke is torn between his new found love for his son, and his inability to hold a steady job. So, to take care of his 'family' Luke begins to rob banks, along with his friend, excellently portrayed by Ben Mendelsohn. Of course, this puts him on a collision course with Bradley Cooper's idealistic cop.

Not wishing to ruin the plot, I won't say anymore. When I first heard the plot, I was immediately struck by the similarities to another excellent Ryan Gosling movie, Drive. In that film, Gosling plays a stunt driver, who takes on a job to help his neighbor. However similar the plot may be, the two films are complete opposites. The Place Beyond The Pines is a character driven study of morality and legacy, while Drive is closer to the genre of an action film. However, the two films do have one more thing in common, they both showcase excellent Ryan Gosling performances.

In this film, Gosling's would be father, doing what he thinks is best, is at times aggravating and intensely emotional. It's a great performance, and a tricky one to master. But Gosling gets it, and turns in one of his best performances. That's not to say the other performances aren't spectacular as well. Eva Mendes turns in some of her best work in years, playing a woman torn between her desire to be with Gosling, and to have a normal family life with her husband. Bradley Cooper turns in his best work yet, playing a cop torn between his want for justice and his powerful ambition. As mentioned above, Ben Mendelsohn turns in some great work as does Ray Liotta. Mention must go to newcomer Dane Dehaan, performing in some of the film's most gut-wrenching moments.

Then of course there is the director. Derek Cianfrance's style is completely unique, and incredibly effective. He is one director to keep an eye on. The cinematography is excellent, especially during the opening shot, when the camera follows Gosling from his trailer, across a fairground, onto a motorcycle and into a giant ball where Gosling rides around.

That's not to say the film doesn't have it's bad points. The version I saw sagged in the end, even though it was necessary to the ending, I still feel they could have trimmed it down. I felt myself and a couple other audience members getting a little restless near the end.

Despite the overlong ending, the film itself was still a great experience. A quiet moving character drama, expansive in it's scope yet intensely personal at its core. At a Q and A at the end of the film, Cianfrance admitted that what he really felt the film was about, was legacy, and passing the torch from generation to generation. And I think he is right.

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52 out of 82 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant effort!

Author: tiger jack ( from Australia
13 May 2013

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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58 out of 94 people found the following review useful:

An incredibly unique and compelling drama.

Author: Landry Chamberlain from United States
9 April 2013

The Place Beyond The Pines tells a unique, compelling story in a way that I have never seen before. This movie kept me interested from start to finish. It is far from traditional storytelling. The story is split into three sections all very different from each other. I enjoyed each section of the movie almost equally, but the first hour of the movie is definitely the strongest. The movie may be slow to some, but I was invested in the story from start to finish. This is the best I've seen Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper, no doubt. There are no bad performances but Cooper and Gosling's stand out the most. Dane Dehaan plays an important role and does a great job of it. Dehaan is definitely a rising star. The tone of this movie is incredible, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good drama. It is the best movie I have seen this year, and with the breakthrough performances throughout, this is a movie you're not going to want to miss.

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