Movie review – ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’

By K. Liam Shrader
March 17, 2014

Ryan Gosling attending the "Blue Valentine" photocall during the 63rd Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France on May 18, 2010. (Hahn-Nebinger-Orban/ABACAPRESS.COM/MCT)
Ryan Gosling

This star-studded indie film probably flew under the radar for you like it did mine.  It released to limited theaters just under a year ago and stars Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper, along with Eva Mendes and Ray Liotta.  After hearing about how great it was from a couple friends I took the time to find it on demand and see it for myself.

Bradley Cooper portrays rising police Avery in 'The Place Behind the Pines.'
Bradley Cooper portrays rising police officer, Avery in ‘The Place Beyond the Pines.’

The Place Beyond the Pines begins slowly with Luke (Ryan Gosling), a motorcycle stunt rider for a traveling carnival.  When he meets back up with an old fling, Romina (Mendes), he discovers he has a son and decides to stay in town to help provide for his baby.  Being a man with limited means, he quickly turns to crime, teaming up with a friend to rob banks.  His new found situation makes him feel like a deadbeat. He wants to be able to give his child and Romina a better life, and he begins to spin out of control trying to make this happen.

Luke gets careless and tries to pull a heist on his own and finds himself in a high-speed chase, being pursued by rookie police officer Avery (Bradley Cooper).  It’s this fated interaction that sets the movie onto a new course and shifts the focus to Avery, an ambitious, young officer who’s trying to rise through the ranks while dealing with a corrupt police department.

The story unfolds over the next fifteen years and the sons of the two men find themselves meeting.  Their interactions send Jayson (Luke’s son) on a journey of self-discovery as he attempts to find out all he can about his father.

Bottom line, next time you sit down for a movie night you should search around for this one.  It’s a very interesting story told in a creative way that I’ve never seen before.  It’s a long movie to sit through but makes for a fun ride.


K. Liam Shrader

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