The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) Poster

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Starts great but loses steam
Chris Martin25 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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A story of trashy criminals and dirty cops evolving into one about fathers and sons and life
napierslogs14 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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A Beautiful Tragic Epic of Karma and Decisions!
robhartjr6 August 2013
Warning: 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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An intriguing and diverse journey
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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An extraordinary movie that pulls the rug from under you
Martin Bradley19 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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Amazing Film!
pmoneymatt30 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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An incredibly unique and compelling drama.
Landry Chamberlain9 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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Great potential, greater disappointment
bolendere220 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This movie has excellent cinematography and great camera work and famous actors. that is it. I wish i could talk to the director and just figure out what the hell he was thinking. The first story of Ryan gosling as the bank robber was excellent.(the first 45 minutes) the second story of Bradley Cooper exposing corruption within his police department was decent, the idea certainly had potential. And the last story of their two kids meeting had little potential but still could have been an alright movie. When all three are combined, it is nothing but irrelevant wasted potential. Ultimately this movie dies with Lives and Dies by Ryan Gosling. I walked out of the theater angry that i was so manipulated by a near perfect movie trailer. The idea of Ryan Gosling as a bank robber is now wasted and Bradley cooper as a good cop among bad cops is ruined. And for the record, there is no "Place Beyond the Pines" it has nothing at all to do with the movie, its just a good marketing title to manipulate people into wasting their money on this disappointment of a movie.
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Brilliant effort!
tiger jack13 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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Too clichéd to be anything other than average
whatalad17 March 2013
Warning: 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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A Quiet Journey
elevenangrymen8 September 2012
Warning: 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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A perfect way to ruin your evening
najlaa-workman24 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I'm beginning to think that any film containing Ryan Gosling is going to be garbage! Before watching this film, I promised that I wouldn't compare it to the silent musical he featured in prior; Driven. I should have known better.

The Place behind the Pines jumps from 1 year later to 15 years later and still leads you to a dead end. Just when you think this movie is about Gosling robbing banks to support his son, it makes a left turn and now we are thrown into a movie involving corrupt cops. As stated before, the movie then jumps 15 years a head in time to a screen play you could find on the Lifetime channel involving a father and his rebellious son. When the story tries to make it's explosive twist to bring all the stories together, you are left thinking; who cares and what does it matter.... Once the final, riding off into the sunset, scene displayed, I realized that I was sitting there with my mouth open. Why? If you want to waste a good 2 hours of your life, by all means- check this movie out. As for me, I could have done my laundry.
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Uneven 3 part film
aleator23 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The first section holds promise of a tense thriller as Ryan Gosling gets addicted to robbing banks and using his motorbike riding skills to escape at high speed until...... The second section focuses on Bradley Cooper's cop, hailed as a hero but who finds it a mixed blessing carrying both danger but also opportunities worth exploiting. Once the headline appears on screen 'Fifteen Years later', we are in the third section and it's here that the film completely falls apart. The story becomes melodramatic and utterly predictable; the coincidences and plot contrivances are just ridiculous.To make matters worse we are served up a load of cod-psychology about fathers and sons. If only the director had stuck to making a solid thriller without all the pretentious overtones, this would've been a really good movie.
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Quite possibly the most ambitious film of the year - Cianfrance has secured a position as one of the best
thejoshl11 April 2013
Derek Cianfrance well known for his riveting film Blue Valentine (2010) is back at it again giving us a breathtaking look at the lasting consequences of the decisions we make. The Place Beyond The Pines is an enthralling crime thriller that stretches over generations - a beautifully crafted familial drama. Quite possibly the most ambitious film of the year The Place Beyond The Pines is about Luke (Gosling), a stunt motorcycle rider performing at a low-grade carnival. While the tattooed Gosling's carnival goes through New York he runs into an old fling, Romina (Eva Mendes) and is shocked to discover in his absence she gave birth to his child. Luke growing up without a father feels obligated to provide for his son Jason so he decides to move nearby and it doesn't take long before Luke needs more money and resorts to robbing a bank with his crooked boss (Ben Mendelsohn). As you can imagine things don't exactly go to plan once Avery (Bradley Cooper), a young and upcoming police officer, is assigned to the case. To much surprise of the audience, shortly after being introduced to Avery Cianfrance switches its narrative focus to him and his family; a very risky move however the execution of the technique is flawless. The story - now centered on Avery – follows him trying to expose corruption within the department and making a name for himself. With his strong desire to essentially become his father Avery becomes detached from his wife and son. The final act of the film takes place 15 years later and focuses on two high school students Jason (Dane DeHaan) and AJ (Emory Cohen) – Luke and Avery's kids. Unfortunately the narrative switch isn't as charming as the first one and the film loses energy it spent so long building. It's not a movie breaking issue because it is just such a pleasure to watch DeHaan (Lawless, Chronicle) on screen. Last year he became my favorite young actor and clearly he's not slowing down. Gosling once again a mysterious, talented young man who resorts to robbing people for money (Does Drive ring a bell?) does as well as usual in his performance but nothing out of the ordinary for him. He'll play this same character until people get sick of it. Cooper is the shining star of the film though. There is no person that is going to leave this film not wondering where this actor was hiding for his early career. The Place Beyond The Pines is a real game changer for him. The rest of the supporting cast stand their ground making the film extremely enjoyable. Derek's ability to bring such realism to his characters is seamlessly met with a more mature visual style this time around making The Place Beyond The Pines his finest achievement yet. The films stunning cinematography was brought to us by Sean Bobbitt (Shame), his work is just fascinating to watch; every shot handled with such precision. The film is brilliant, breathtaking and above all innovative. With this intensely layered drama of fathers and sons Cianfrance has secured a position as one of the best. This really is storytelling at its finest. 8.5/10
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Watching Paint Dry
landinathome4 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The synopsis for this movie sounds so much more interesting than it actually is. There were no redeeming characters, no one was conflicted over anything, no one wanted to achieve anything in particular. There was no great passion, no inner turmoil, no big lesson to be learned, not much of anything at all. I'm not dense, and I do enjoy subtlety in a movie, but unfortunately this movie only hinted at possible conflicts that never actually made it to screen.

The motorcycle rider quits his job when he learns that he has a kid. It's not a job he loves (but it could have been) and he doesn't particularly care about the girl (though it would have been more interesting if he did); she was just a one night stand from a year or two earlier and he never bothered to call her again. Had he been desperately looking for work, and finally resorted to robbing banks, it might have been interesting, but no, he robbed banks as a first resort and without great passion. Had the woman and her child been destitute, had they been victims of domestic violence, then you might have understood his desire to help them, but no, he just wanted to give them money (which they didn't particularly need).

Had the cop been tortured by the fact that he lied about the shooting, had he been wanting to tell the truth but was conflicted; had he some inner demon sabotaging him throughout his life, then his story might have carried some weight, but no, he lived a normal life and advanced his career as one might do.

Had the motorcycle rider's son been desperately seeking a father figure his whole life, then his discovery of the identity of the cop would have been dramatic, but no, he had a normal life with a loving step-father, and so the discovery was no big deal. But assuming it was a big deal (a very big assumption) you might have expected him to exact revenge with some clever plot, but no, he simply threatens to kill the guy (for no apparent reason) and then changes his mind at the last minute…of course.

They missed the dramatic mark in every possible way. It was lazy writing to say the least. A movie has to actually create conflict and motivation, it can't leave it up to the audience to assume that people are conflicted, or that something matters to them. I think anyone who gave it a good review must have read way more into the movie than was actually there.

Wish I'd walked out. You might want to spend your time watching paint least you'd save $10.
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A big disappointment
zacmazs7 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
After watching the trailers for this film I was super-excited to see it. The cast is brilliant, the director is brilliant, but unfortunately the storyline was poorer than I could even imagine.

At first, I thought we'd see an interesting story about a carny' turned bank robber but Ryan Gosling dies about half-way through without making any sort of impact on the viewers or even the story-line as a whole.

Secondly Bradly Cooper is introduced and remains the protagonist for the remainder of the film but, similarly to Gosling, doesn't earn the viewers sympathy or even attention as we see a stereotypical 'cop catching bad guy' routine.

Finally we see the paths of both Gosling and Coopers sons cross to finish the film on a poor low.

The only non-cliché'd surprise is that in the end *Spoiler* one son didn't actually kill the other as we were led to believe. I literally cared so much towards the end that I can't even remember who's son done what. Had I not been on a date, I would have left roughly about an hour and a half in.

Overall a disappointing film that had all the makings of a masterpiece but falls, incredulously, short.

I wouldn't recommend watching this film. I'd put the 'let-down' somewhere below that of Gangster Squad (2012, Gosling).
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Shallow and inconsistent
andrewdu2422 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Eh, it started out well. Ryan Gosling played a stunt driver who finds out he has a 1 year old son with Eva Mendez and decides to quit and build a life with them but she already has a man. But for some reason Ryan Gosling gets into the picture anyway. Its unclear what Eva Mendes's character thinks about Gosling and nothing is shown about her new relationship. Gosling decides he needs money to provide for them and starts robbing a bunch of banks(even though they seem to be doing just fine). He does spend some time with his son but oversteps his boundaries and then assaults Eva Mendes's boyfriend/husband? She cuts him off and he goes back to bank robbing and is chased by Bradley Copper. Ryan Gosling dies during the chase and Bradley Cooper is racked with guilt. He is treated as a hero but feels conflicted because he also has a 1 year old son who he can't look into the eye do to guilt. The second act of the movie deals with police corruption and resolves itself in a way that undermines the feelings I had about Bradley Cooper's character. The third act is the worst. First of all, its set 15 years later and Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper's offspring meet and there are violent consequences. Both young men are lost and angry but there is no depth given to them. Eva Mendes is aged considerably but Bradley Copper is not. Eva Mendes' son does not look part Latino at all or anything like Ryan Gosling. His character acts like hes from a different movie. His confrontations with Bradley Copper and his son make little to no sense. The characters lack motivation and are not consistent. In one scene both young men seem to be social outcasts in another one appears to be very popular. One one scene Bradley Copper's character appears to be moral the next scene he only cares about himself.
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The Place Beyond the Pines: where you find Bear turds
jamfitz0014 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Yikes. What a stinker.

As You may understand, this movie is comprised of a first part that follows a brooding loner who says nothing and rides a motorcycle in a carnival as he decides to stay in town to support his love-child and attempts to win back his now-moved on fling. The movie begins to get interesting when he starts to rob banks and has some well-done heist/getaway scenes. But then all of a sudden he's gone, and you follow the cop that took him down for some reason, and he plays his cards pretty well and just when you are thinking, where is this going, is it done...well then they say "15 Years Later" and they start a new story right at the point you were hoping you could leave. And it goes on a while more about the sins of the fathers being passed on to the sons, and nothing much happens really, and then it just ends.

The pretentiousness of the story is over-shadowed by it's contrived nature. Sure, this cold happen. After all, that guy went fishing thirty years later and found his lost wedding ring in the fishes belly, didn't he? Ryan Gosling repeats the one note he plays, a goofy-faced smirking Disney Kid grown up, roided out, and vamping on a Steve McQueen Imitation. Eva Mendes doesn't really have much to do, and has been much better in other movies. Bradley Cooper is a take-or-leave mediocrity ala Matt Damon. Not horrible, but not impressive. The young kids at the end act their precious little hearts out, but they are cast in stereotyped roles (the rich-boy smug punk playing hard, the brooding troubled misfit).

The movie is long, and except for the well-done 15 minutes of bank robbery and chase scenes, it just meanders. The soundtrack is forgettable. Here's the point: don't knock up strange chicks and then start robbing banks, your kid will be f'd up, and a bunch of bad crap will happen and nobody but the lonely guy who let you stay in his trailer will think any good thoughts about you.
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"Fathers and Sons" My review of the film The Place Beyond the Pines
stinad31622 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
In an ambitious attempt of an epic familial drama-tragedy, Pines is presented in three acts that span over 15 years. A single event is meant to tie many characters and story lines together, while consistently presenting father-son relationships (and their lack there of). Act one introduces us to Handsome Luke (Gosling) a stunt motorbike rider in a traveling carnival. Quiet, tough, covered in tattoos, he is bored, but complacent. When he is reunited with an old fling, (Mendes) he learns he has an infant son. At this point, Luke makes some big changes in his lifestyle. Act one is the most rich in story, action and character. The ultimate challenge for Luke will be deciding what kind of father he's going to be, and that effort alone, good and bad, makes for a believable struggle. In act one we also have Robin (Mendlesohn) the mechanic, who is another quiet, complex character, driving much of the action and simultaneously trying to slow Luke down. The chase scenes feel raw and gritty, which makes them tense and right at home here. Act one, running just under an hour is a complete character arc in a well-told story and could have stood alone. Act two slows down as it introduces Avery Cross (Cooper) a rookie cop, newly claimed as a hero. His father-son issues are immediately presented as influencing his decision making. He has an infant son whom he struggles to connect with, while simultaneously trying to get free of his own father's controlling hand. The story in act two is not nearly as compelling. Avery is troubled and dealing with dirty cops and guilt from his title of "hero". He is a coward and uses the difficult situations he is dealing with to leverage him upwards in his career. There is little to no action or excitement in act two, it's mostly a cop drama which echoes many dirty cop dramas before it. Ray Liotta is wasted as the obvious ringleader of unsavory behavior. If we are supposed to compare the men from act one and two I would say they both made bad decisions, however, Luke's struggle was how to become the kind father he wanted to be, and Avery's is how to be the kind of man his father wants as a son. Other than the single event that links the two men together, act two is a totally separate film. 15 years pass and the third act begins with Avery's father's funeral. And in the longest half hour of my life we watch Avery's son AJ and Luke's son Jason collide towards each other like bulldozers. There is no mystery in this setup and no fireworks upon impact, save for a black eye. The parallels in their two very different lives are annoying. Both generally fatherless, recreational drug users and outsiders. Jason's journey is to find out more about his biological father. He uses Google to learn AJ's father was involved and Mendlesohn's character Robin returns to be a helpful friend from the past. AJ seems to have no journey or goals at all. My personal issues with act three are unavoidable. 1. Although we see these two characters heading straight for each other, nothing is interesting. Now we're watching an angsty teen drama without bullies or any girls. 2. They've clearly used makeup to age Mendes 15 years forward, and although it's shocking I allow myself to believe a mother working hard in a sort of broken life would look older. Cooper and Mendlesohn are not aged at all. 3. The ending of this confrontation is so anticlimactic, there is no character development in the third act at all, it feels like the movie ends with the last little bit of air going out of a balloon. My issues with the film as a whole: 1. The place beyond the pines is the Mohawk name for Schenectady, NY where this movie takes place, but there is no place beyond the pines. It is not mentioned or even eluded to at all. 2. The female roles in the film are seriously lacking. Understanding the film is trying to deal more with father-son relationships, Mendes' character felt the most real, although she is relatively weak (both emotionally and in moral character). She spends most of her scenes in tears. Rose Byrne is also totally wasted as Avery's wife. She has two scenes and in both she comes off as bossy and powerless simultaneously. Neither gives off the impression they are warm, loving mothers which may add greatly to the unhappiness of our two teenage sons, but it's clearly not the focus of the film, and so, as mothers, they are simply outlines. 3. The three acts are so different it could be like watching 3 episodes of a TV show filmed ten years apart. They vaguely resemble each other.

I give this film 4/10 all points awarded to the first act.
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A phenomenal first segment, then it's all downhill
MediaboyMusings1 October 2012
The Place Beyond The Pines derives its title from the English translation of the Mohawk name for Schenectady, New York, where the film is set. Director Derek Cianfrance's third feature is the follow-up to 2010's widely praised Blue Valentine, a movie whose supposed magnificence was lost on me. Cianfrance reteams with one of that film's stars, Ryan Gosling, for one of The Place Beyond The Pines' three segments that unfolds over a 15 year period with interconnected story lines that mixes elements of crime drama, teenage angst, questions about fate, and the complexities of father-son relationships.

The first segment is unquestionably the film's strongest, with Gosling further refining the brooding anti-hero character that seems to have become his stock-in- trade. His Luke character is introduced in the film's great opening scene that employs an extensive single tracking shot, as the audience views his heavily tattooed body and carnival motorcycle stunt rider profession, which convey Luke's societal fringe elements without saying a word. Luke's white trash status is also reinforced by the repeated wearing of a Metallica Ride The Lightning muscle tee and a ratty white t-shirt worn inside out in public, tag and all (I love that the latter is never addressed by any characters Luke meets). A reconnection with a woman (Romina, played by a solid Eva Mendes) he had a quickie fling with the last time his job brought him to town reveals that he's the father of her two-year old son. The news awakens Luke's paternal instincts and he attempts to insert himself back into the pair's lives, despite the complication of another man in Romina's life. Desperate to prove he can provide for Romina and his son, Luke ends up robbing banks, with the assistance of a scruffy auto mechanic he's met (an excellent Ben Mendelsohn providing some understated comic relief). Aspects of Luke and his deeds immediately bring to mind Gosling's role from last year's Drive. Despite the similarities in roles surprisingly played so close to each other, Gosling's unpredictable, violence-prone character commands the screen for the approximately hour long length of his segment. His storyline does admittedly benefit from the best writing of the three segments, courtesy of screenwriters Cianfrance, Ben Coccio, and Darius Marder.

Gosling's dynamism and that first segment's brilliance are only highlighted by the significantly diminishing returns that follow it. Segment two stars Bradley Cooper as a rookie cop who found himself involved in Luke's story, with other subplots involving police corruption, morality, and an unhappy marriage also playing out. I've always found Cooper to be a rather dull actor and his performance here hasn't changed my opinion; that, combined with the segment's derivative story, managed to effectively kill my segment one buzz. The writing is also too uneven - Cooper's character is set up as a smart, moral person, yet those qualities are a little too conveniently discarded when he's presented with a career-altering decision. Bruce Greenwood is memorable in a small role as a high-ranking cop, while Ray Liotta's minor role as an intimidating, crooked cop feels like the kind of role we've seen from him dozens of times already.

Segment three completes The Place Beyond The Pines' downhill slide, focussing on the teenage sons (played by Dane DeHaan and Emory Cohen) of Gosling's and Cooper's characters. As the snoozy storyline featuring bratty behaviour from the screwed up high school students developed, I could never get past the fact the segment hinged on their chance meeting and eventual friendship. That meeting, considering the inextricably linked history they share via their fathers, was simply far too coincidental for me to suspend disbelief. Also distracting: a time jump of 15 years reveals Cooper's character and that of his wife (played by Rose Byrne) to have seemingly not aged at all, while Mendes' Romina looks to have aged about 25 years.

I respect the fact that Cianfrance took some risks with The Place Beyond The Pines, which had its world premiere at TIFF - he throws in a major plot twist relatively early on and the movie's segmented structure is definitely a gamble and somewhat unconventional, but unfortunately, the loosely connected narrative and performances don't hold together over the course of the film's too-long 140 minute running time. The disappointing ending shouldn't come as much of a shock to anyone who has just witnessed the decline from the first-rate quality of the riveting opening segment to the progressively inferior chapters that follow. As the last third of it plays out, that swing has been so dramatic that it almost feels like we're watching an altogether different movie.
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Where do I go to get back my 140 minutes and $10.50?
Quisp N Quake12 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
If there is a more cliché-ridden film of the last 20 years, I'm not sure I know what it is. This was predictable crap from beginning to end. You know what it really is? It's a stealth chick flick, and a horrible one at that... just like Cianfranco's last "masterpiece," "Blue Valentine." That vapid piece of banality stretched my patience to the breaking point. "Pines" found that breaking point and chopped it up into tiny pieces. How dare he waste my time like that!!!

Oh sure, Cianfranco is commenting on the "sins of the fathers" motif, right down to showing the heart throb/cycling daredevil/bank robber's" baby being baptized. But the sin never washed off... of either son. The cop-lawyer ends up with Vinny Barbarino for a kid, and the biker ends up with Kurt Cobain. Of course, you knew they would meet up and the sparks would fly. And they did as expected. Actually, I half expected to see Ray Liotta's kid waiting for both Kurt and the cop/attorney in that forest, so he could take revenge on both idiots. I was hoping Kurt would kill Vinny, kill his father, burn down the house, blow up the neighborhood, and deliver the coup d' grace to himself. Then, you would have had a film ending worthy of Sergio Leone. But, no such luck.

I will remember who Cianfranco is now and avoid his work like it was nuclear waste.
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Where is the 'place beyond the pines,' and why does it matter?
tjsprik15 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This is a very long movie, so let me spare you the 2 1/2 hours and advise you to skip this one.

It starts out with such promise as it develops the story of bad-boy Gosling trying to be a responsible father to his infant son. But when he makes some bone-headed decisions in a bank robbery that goes awry, good-bye bad-boy Gosling and hello bad-boy Cooper.

Thus begins the second story (of three), this one about a police officer who tries to keep himself from corruption within his department, but who suffers from corruption as well when he uses a form of blackmail to get the promotion he wants. Meanwhile he's an absentee father, focusing solely on his career. Eventually he runs for state District Attorney, which is where the story takes it third and final turn.

Enter bad-boy sons of above-mentioned bad-boy fathers. What will happen when their paths cross? And is it worth waiting almost two and a half hours to find out? (hint--no, it's not).

Don't waste your time on this anti-climactic attempt. Despite great performances by Gosling and Mendez, this movie is disappointing. It had great potential, but fell flat about 2/3 of the way through. Much of the hype over this film was likely due to its all-star cast, but this screen-play and story do not live up to the quality of its actors.

And I'm still not sure where the 'place beyond the pines' is.
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Beyond the Pine of the Apes
thesar-214 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I think I wanted to like The Place Beyond the Pines more. Following the days after my viewing, I did view it more favorably, but, ultimately, stuck with my initial dead-end rating of the film. (5/10 stars.)

Of several concerns I had with the movie, the main one was the length. The movie went on and on and on and I get the need to tell an original and in-depth story, but there was so much that could've been cut here to make it tighter and more engaging. Not to mention – and this is just my own point of view, I was thoroughly invested in the first story (of three intertwining fables) with Ryan Gosling and when that abruptly ended 50 or so minutes in, I was disappointed.

I'm getting ahead of myself here. The movie's three chapters involve a nowhere-headed circus act who finds out he's a father and then becomes a criminal to somewhat support said child, a "decent" policeman who's trying to get promoted and finally, two kids who are byproducts of the first two chapters.

Really, in 140 minutes, I just summed up the entire experience there.

Okay, now I can move on. Where was I? Oh, yeah, I got emotionally involved in the sad sack in story one and when that chapter ended, I was – also – sad. So, with no choice, if I wanted to finish this movie, I had to re-engage with story #2, even though it was less interesting. True, it was a bridge, like most part twos of trilogies, but at that time, I didn't know there would be a third section.

I am being completely biased here and, perhaps a bit horny – ha – but the son of one of these men, "AJ" (Emory Cohen) was so cute, at least I had something after two hours to keep me interested.

Normally, I wouldn't review a movie or mention someone I find attractive, but damn, after what seemed like four hours, I needed something to keep me awake. It was painfully obvious where this film was headed so the incredibly slow and deliberate pacing made finishing this a chore. Giving me an "AJ" was at least a gift to finish the film.

Overall, stepping back, this movie was, in fact, original and was interesting enough to watch with fairly good performances and cinematography, but it's pacing and length would never necessitate a second viewing. So, I would recommend only one viewing and then move Beyond the Pines.
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One of the Most Underrated Movies of All Time
littleging129 January 2017
"The Place Beyond the Pines" is the second feature film with the director/actor pair of Derek Cianfrance and Ryan Gosling. The two together are a two man wrecking force who show resemblance of a DiCaprio/Scorsese dynamic. In this film, they tackle an ambitious, emotional and completely original tale about fathers and sons, sins of the father, generational consequences, and how one moment can send shockwaves lasting a lifetime.

The movie is broken into three acts, each as compelling and unpredictable as the one before it. The film centers around three main characters, somehow, all connected to each other. It stars Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Dane DeHann as the leads. Ryan Gosling channels the brooding reticence of his unnamed badass from "Drive" and the cool swagger of Tyler Durden from "Fight Club." Bradley Cooper displays a lot of versatility as he plays a nervy rookie cop. Some other actors who shine here are Ben Mendelsohn, Mahershala Ali, Bruce Greenwood, and Ray Liotta (with his signature menacing intensity). The actors really own their roles and allow for the viewers to connect with the portrayal of their sympathetic characters. The only problem here is that the newcomer actors (Dane DeHaan and Emory Cohen) don't carry their act as effectively and emotionally as Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper did.

The story here is ambitious and succeeds in telling a new and refreshing tale that filmgoers have not seen or experienced on this level of deep sophistication in ages. The film transcends movie tropes and plots as it takes a realistic, gritty, and life-like spin on traditional storytelling. "Pines" is more than just a movie. It is an exploration and examination of the human experience, spirit, and conscience.

To match the film's sensational storytelling and acting is the phenomenal directing, cinematography, and music. Everything about the filmmaking craft helps enhance the emotional impact, and real life gravity of the film. It isn't just some action crowd pleaser or CGI-infested cash grab. Nor is it some black and white 'good guys vs bad guys' rehashed plot Hollywood has been spewing out for the last quarter-century. It's an emotional, heart- wrenching, and enriching drama in which you see every character as a human person capable of love, forgiveness, and sinful actions. It is a powerhouse of craftsmanship. Director Derek Cianfrance expertly weaves together a complex and emotionally draining epic that puts an emphasis on how one moment/decision can affect generations to come. He also concocts immersive third-person POV tracking shots which greatly add to the occasional thrills of the film. The cinematography and music create a hurricane of emotions to further augment the viewing experience.

It is a travesty that "The Place Beyond the Pines" has not gotten the attention it deserves. It's mandatory viewing for any film buff or life enthusiast. Because what this movie is is life on screen.
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Pining for Ryan Gosling
amira_badawey9 April 2013
I intended to see The Place Beyond The Pines upon viewing the preview for the first time. The image of Ryan Gosling speeding into the tree lined horizon of upper New York was mesmerizing. I was curious to find out what he will bring to the character. Then, mixed reviews came in. Everyone praised Gosling's performance, he never disappoints, yet most found the three part vignettes disjointed and that the movie ran too long. With the film in limited release, I wondered if it was worth venturing out to Manhattan to see it. As my enthusiasm wavered and the film descended to the bottom of my to-see queue, I came across James Franco's review in the Huffington post. Franco's post about The Place Beyond The Pines is poignant, exhilarating and downright beautiful. He paints a vivid picture of Gosling (The Gos). He masterfully crafts each sentence in appraising the performance both individually and collectively. After reading the review, I too wanted to make love to the movie. Having availability this weekend, I decided to dedicate three hours to the appreciation of the Gos. With every scene, Franco's voice echoed in my head as if he was sitting right there whispering the film's narrative into my ear.

Despite being a bit long, with an over indulgent mid-section, The Place Beyond The Pines is an enjoyable experience. Having read the reviews prior to seeing the movie, I had a feed-forward on the events and the story's progression. This, however, did not diminish from the film's magnificence. Gosling evokes a magnitude of emotions. I swooned, I smiled, and I cried. Gosling's rendition of the troubled soul but good at heart Luke is so consuming, you crave him in every scene. I wonder how different Bradley Cooper's chapter would have been if Gosling was cast in the role. I was eager to see him spar with Ray Liotta. Not to fault Cooper, for it is refreshing to see him convey other sentiments rather than disdain from behind his Hangover glasses. But how can he follow Gosling's performance - no one can. In large part, this is the reason Cooper's vignette seems over drawn. However, Cooper was successful in getting the audience to dislike Avery despite sympathizing with his character.

The Place Beyond The Pines plays like an inverted sandwich, with the dull stale slice of bread encased between two meat patties. The last portion of the movie is a powerful bookend to Gosling's chapter, bringing together the fate of our antagonistic protagonists. The film's major premises, as Franco so eloquently states, is a Shakespearean Sins of our Fathers. It begs the question, are we destined to follow in the footsteps of our fathers regardless how much or how little influence they had in our lives? As if our destiny is decided by our genes not our actions. The movie also touches on the dichotomy of good and bad, more of the contrast between what society, and perhaps the viewer, deems as good or bad and the intentions of individuals. We often set out to do good, but in a bad way with the notion of the ends justify the means. However, when is this conflict accepted both publicly and privately. This brings us to another theme, conforming to society. The more we conform and assimilate with the masses, the more forgiving people will be of our sins. As opposed to loner stoners who do what they want as they deem appropriate. Society more readily judges and prosecutes their sins because they are viewed as renegades and outsiders. The Place Beyond The Pines raises the question, which of our two antagonistic heroes will die with a clear conscience.

After reading Franco's post, I was hesitant to publish this review. My writing could never so articulate my sentiment in such a profound manner as Franco's review. Whenever I try to wean myself off this Franco crush, he does something so admiral that elevates him to new heights, so admiral that he would serenade the performance of a fellow actor and pine for the Gos! If The Place Beyond The Pines is not on you must-see list, may I suggest that you read Franco's review and then decide. I guarantee that you'll speed out the door in search for a showing upon reaching the last words - Burn Hard Baby!
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