The Place Beyond the Pines movie poster. There are many secrets in this town and many people willing to talk.

Stars: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta, Dane DeHaan and Emory Cohen
Director/Scriptwriter: Derek Cianfrance
Focus Features
Rating: R
Running Length: 140 minutes

This film is really in three sections, about 17 years apart. The first stars Ryan Gosling, in a portrayal of a motorcycle circus rider, traveling from town to town with a girl in every port. The second, stars Bradley Cooper, as the police officer who is after Ryan, and the third story involves their sons. The Place Beyond The Pines would have made an adequate mini-series. This is something for the scriptwriter to think about for future films.

We begin with a guy flexing his tattooed muscles, back to camera. What is this, a retake of Magic Mike? No, it is Gosling, getting ready for his motorcycle show that is startling in its complexity. He goes to see an old girlfriend (Eva Mendes), only to find she has a son (his) and a boyfriend. Ryan won't let go and decides to settle in town and rob a bank. Wrong thing to do.

Enter Bradley Cooper, as a courageous cop after Ryan. As Cooper's story unfold, we see him advance to attorney and be a hero in the town, plus exposing corruption in politics. That's where Ray Liotta comes in with his devilish grin. Story three, is set 17 years later, when Ryan's son (Emory Cohen) and Bradley's son (an uncomprehensible Dane DeHaan) meet in high school. There are many secrets in this town and many people willing to talk.

The Place Beyond The Pines is way too long for its own good. The audience could do with fewer camera shots of people's faces, fewer scenery shots and a general tightening of the storyline that rambles at times. Both Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper are quite good in their roles and I think Cooper does better here than in Silver Linings Playbook. Eva Mendes aptly portrays a woman undecided between two men. It is in the third story, with the young men, that this film falters. Dean DeHaan mumbles through the lines and gives a poor Marlon Brando portrayal. Emory Cohen says little, but even his body language is stiff. Plus, there are too many coincidences in the story and sometimes, the audience may need a road map.

The Place Beyond The Pines turns out to be a showcase for both Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper. The rest of the cast are names in the script, unfortunately.


Copyright 2013 Marie Asmer

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