The Place Beyond the Pines tells the relationship story of fathers and sons. The film is set in the city of Schenectady (New York) which loosely loosely translates into English as “place beyond the pine plains.” The film stars Ryan Gosling as Luke Glanton, a tattooed motorcycle stuntman with not much of a future, and Bradley Cooper as Avery Cross, a nervous, educated young cop. The film is really split into three different stories, yet interconnecting all the while.
Part 1: The first part of this story primarily involves the relationship between Luke and Romina, played by Eva Mendes. After a fling that happened an undisclosed amount of time ago, Luke returns to the town of Schenectady with a traveling fair. Luke contributes to the fair as a motorcycle act, one in which he rides in an enclosed metal ball with two other riders. Yes, it is dangerous and yes he is a badass so to speak. Other than his riding skills, Luke doesn’t have much else going for him until he finds out Ro (Romina) has a child by him. Luke abandons his traveling gig and establishes residency in Schenectady to attempt to raise his child and win back Ro from her current beau. He makes a friend named Robin, played by Ben Mendelsohn, who is just excellent in his role as a run-down auto repair man. When Luke determines he can’t provide for Ro and his baby, Robin convinces him that robbing banks was a plausible option due to his superb riding capabilities. I won’t ruin what happens but from here part 2 comes in.
Part 2: The second portion of the movie is Avery Cross’s story. After getting a college degree in law, Avery decides to join the police department of Schenectady despite his wife, Jennifer (played by Rose Byrne), and his father’s disapproval. Six months into his job, he crosses (no pun intended) paths with Luke. In addition to that, he soon finds out the dark secrets of the crooked department and has to deal with the dilemma of toughing it out or going to his father for help.
Part 3: The final story of the film involves the two 15 year old sons of Luke and Avery. Jason (Luke’s son) and AJ (Avery’s son) are a couple of outcast high school-ers who have things in common like drug usage and confusing father figures. They soon find out their pasts and the history of their fathers which explains how the boys were shaped into the people they are today.
The Overall: I enjoyed this film IMMENSELY. Derek Cianfrance has impressed me greatly and has, for me, earned a Best Director nomination. The acting is superb, and I mean every single cast member. The story is one of families and secrets and sometimes dark pasts. It’s one that anyone can relate to and is solidified even more so by the authenticity of the performances. Overall, I give the movie a 9 out of 10.