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The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)
Truly an experience of a lifetime.
Warning; this review is full of spoilers!
Going into the movie, you might think Luke Glanton is going to be the main focus, but you're about to enter into a journey of a lifetime, with the most complex and connected story line in recent memory.
We find Luke(Ryan Gosling) in his every day routine, riding a motorcycle for a living in a carnival. After doing his job on this particular day, he finds Romina(Eva Mendes), his lover that we soon find he left after becoming the father of her child. He didn't know this though, mind you, he finds out by his mother when he comes to her door looking for her. He was going to leave town, but knowing he had a son, he decides to stay and try to take care of him.
He finds out that Romina loves another man but he still wants her love, and his child. He quit his job, and needs another, and he just so happens to find Robin(Ben Mendelsohn) in the woods. Robin gives him a job in the garage, and gives him a place to stay. Luke needs more money than what Robin is giving him, but Robin doesn't have the money to give. He suggests, though, that he should try robbing a bank, as he had done it himself a couple of times. Luke hates the idea at first, but comes around to liking it.
After the first time, he comes out clean, but he is repulsed by himself after what he just did. He realizes that it does help with money though, and he decides to do it again, with him feeling better about it. After a while of this(and Luke going to jail for other reasons), Robin has enough, and doesn't want Luke pulling anything himself, so he cuts up the bike he was using. Luke surprises him by waking him at gunpoint, and gets money for a new bike. He pulls another robbery, but this time not- so-successfully. The cops catch up to him, and he leads them on a chase, until he is blocked and he decides to run into a house. He makes a final call to Romina telling her he's in trouble and not to tell his son anything. The cop who followed him into the house, Avery(Bradley Cooper), shoots him, and he falls out the window to his death just before shooting Avery.
Avery is praised for his bravery and heroism. He is feeling some guilt though. He knows Luke had a son his age, and he took his father away from him. Avery also shot first, even though Luke didn't draw yet. He still goes on with his life, though, and some other cops are trying to give him what they think he deserves. One cop in particular, Deluca(Ray Liotta), leads all of them in illegally seizing and keeping money as "evidence." They give a big share to Avery to reward him. Avery seems to have never realized how corrupt they were. One of the cops also tries to persuade Avery into getting him some drugs that are stored with evidence. Avery takes the stolen money to the head of his division after being denied a higher status. He accuses him of trying to rat out the other cops, and we see him tell Deluca about the incident. Avery is really angry after this. How could these cops all be so corrupt?
Deluca tells Avery they need to talk about the money. He takes him out to the forest, much like having a chat in the desert of Las Vegas. All secluded, we see Avery pull out his gun and cocking it just to get ready for what may happen next, but he pulls out and speeds away as soon as Deluca steps out of his car. He tells his father the predicament he is in, and he gives him the idea to record the cop who wanted him to steal the drugs for him. He does so, and he uses that as evidence to take them all out of the picture. This also gives him an even better name and he advances in his position.
Fifteen years later, we find both Avery and Romina's sons forming a friendship. They both relate in the use of drugs, and both end up getting caught because of this. Avery tells his son not to get involved with the other kid anymore, but he does anyway. While this goes on, Romina's son starts researching more about his father, Luke, and also finds out by an intricate turn of events that his "friend's" dad had killed his father. Avery's son gets a gun and breaks into Avery's house and gives his son a scare and a need of medical attention, to put it into words. Avery comes home, and he holds him at gunpoint and takes him out to the forest, and nearly kills him, but holds himself from it when Avery says he's sorry about killing his father. We find that everything seems to end fairly well for the Avery family, and Romina's son seems to follow Luke's path.
I give The Place Beyond the Pines ten stars because it is so full of story, and original story at that. There is so much connection between everyone and it is told with such a beautiful storyline which has to be seen for yourself. Do yourself a favor and don't miss this movie. I can't think of anything wrong with it, and I could go on and on about what I like about it, so I won't. I'll just tell you it's amazing, and you need to experience it. I am looking forward to more movies by Derek Cianfrance, and I will have to watch some he has already made. Movies like this are the reason I still love movies. Most movies today are garbage, but ones like these stand in these tough times.