By Chase Bayless ’15
“The Place Beyond the Pines” starring Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper
8.5 out of 10
“The Place Beyond the Pines” is about a man who has a life altering moment and the effects of the decisions he makes on his family
It takes place in the small rural town of Schenectady, New York.
Luke Glanton, played by Ryan Gosling, is a tough, laidback biker who says very few words, despite the main focus on him.
He looks the part with his cool demeanor, tattoo-covered body and torn up clothes with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.
He’s a skilled motorcycle rider who isn’t afraid to go fast or take risks.
As a daredevil stunt biker in a circus, Luke is constantly on the move.
He has occasional stops in Schenectady and had a fling with a girl named Romina (Eva Mendes) the last time he was in town.
This time while in town, she tells him they now have a son together. However, Romina doesn’t want him living or being around his kid, because he already has a new father.
He faces a tough decision of what to do and turns to a life of crime as a way of providing for his new family.
The drama and suspense in the film lead up to the important moments and intense action scenes.
These action scenes, which are usually motorcycle chases, are shot well as they show the speed and danger of them.
The rest of the movie is split into three acts spanning 17 years.
The protagonists switch throughout as it follows the lives of two very different families.
It follows Luke as well as Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper) and both their kids as they eventually cross paths.
It is one of the most unpredictable movies, with shocking twists appearing suddenly and frequently.
The ending was an unexpected reality of revenge and tied together the whole plot.
Director Derek Cianfrance made this in a very risky way with a complicated plot that switches the focus on different characters often. It is a unique style that pays off in the end.
The acting of both the main and supporting characters was phenomenal. The supporting actors are constantly being introduced throughout and do a fantastic job of creating characters vital to the movie.
Gosling’s arrogant yet calm manner was real and embracing. He made you root for him and forget about some of the bad things he had done.
Mendes plays a strong independent woman who is making a living as a waitress. Her emotional scenes were moving and authentic.
Cooper plays a prestigious cop who is haunted by his past decisions. He also does a great job and makes the transitions of moods seem effortless and genuine.
The release of this film had much less hype than many of the other big movies this year.
Trailers for it showed almost nothing as to what it was about and it was better going into it not knowing anything.
While some parts are slow to develop and lack the action some may desire, the acting and suspense make up for it.
Cianfrance’s brilliance and the performances of every actor and actress make “The Place Beyond the Pines” a unique and captivating experience worth seeing.