Review by Lucía Santiago Dantés.
Few movies keep my interest on what’s going on in so many different ways as this one. Indeed a movie not to be missed. We could say Cianfrance is improving his skills as writer director. The film was in all the most important Film Festivals around the globe as in Cannes, Sundance and TIFF.
It is said that directors are often writing and rewriting the same story, and in a twisted way this is called style. Written and directed by Derek Cianfrance (to be fair, Cianfrance co–wrote the story with Ben Coccio and Darius Marder) “The Place Beyond The Pines” has some influences of his previous work: Blue Valentine, also starred by Ryan Gosling but with Michelle Williams as his love interest. Both stories are about broken characters, broken relationships and broken lives. Both in different perspective have worn out characters and as such, they are victims of their own mistakes.
Both also have a very nostalgic tone.
But let’s focus on The Place Beyond The Pines. The story follows 2 main characters and 2 generations; and although it seems a bit too crowded it works perfectly. Luke Glanton (Ryan Gosling) is a motorcycle stuntman who works in a traveling fair. He’s visited by his ex-lover Romina (Eva Mendes). Soon he finds out he has a son but Romina doesn’t want anything to do with him as she is now in a relationship with Kofi (Mahershala Ali) This is a life changing moment for Luke as he decides to stay in town instead of keep up with his stunt career traveling around the country.
After this point we see a series of bad choices that takes him to his doom. That leads you to think so many things about Luke without finding any answers. It is, what it is. Rob chose a path of robbing banks to provide, impress and fight to be part of Romina’s and his son’s life. Although it seems that luck is in his favor, eventually Luke runs out of it. And just as it seems that this luck is passed to Avery (Bradley Cooper) the police officer who (accidentally? out of fear? impulsively? or maybe all of the above…) kills Luke. The story then switches to Avery, and as an audience point of view you are just shocked that the main character is dead half way through the movie. Then you realize is like this kind of cosmic karma that is passed on to him either by accident of as result of his own actions, again you start arguing with yourself about it. But then we start to notice Avery’s life. He is a father too and he’s a policeman. We think he got away with murder but in fact we see he is forced to be part of a group of corrupted policemen and god knows how this would end if he doesn’t get out in time. But that’s not the end of all his trials and tribulations as we see a great jump in time and now both kids: Luke’s and Avery’s are in their teens and we see again a cosmic force has put them together again, and in a twist of devine justice is the other way around. Now Avery’s son AJ (Emory Cohen) is the one taking bad choices while Jason(Dane DeHaan) son of Luke is just another troubled teenager who we can see him just at the border of the abyss of life. Jason has to decide which path will he take but AJ is there to push his limits. He decides for once in a while, to break this toxic circle and create his own destiny in a very poetic open ending.