June 29, 2013
"The Place Beyond the Pines" is a drama about two men and their sons, but this story was told in three distinct acts. Essentially, these are three short movies with a very tenuous connection, making one very long movie.
The first short film was about Luke, a motorcycle stuntman, who turned to robbing banks when he learned he had a son from a previous girlfriend (Eva Mendez). This segment could have been just so-so if not for the intense performance of Ryan Gosling as Luke. That scene during the baptism of his son Jason was very moving. It is just that this is basically the same Ryan Gosling we saw in "Drive" and "Blue Valentine." He is good, but he seems to be doing the same character over and over.
The second short film was about Avery, a lawyer turned cop. After being honored as a hero for killing a thief, he gets involved with some bad cops into extortion and drugs. He uses this sticky situation to his advantage to become assistant DA. I barely recognized Bradley Cooper as the young cop at first as his entrance was not too grand for a billed star. While Cooper was good as Avery, this story was simply so commonplace and undistinguished.
The third film was about the misadventures of two young men whose fathers just happened to be connected with each other, and the two previous stories. The unlikeliness of this event happening was what made this installment rather unstable. By this time, the film had already gone too long for so little to be happening.
Overall, this could have been a better film despite the common stories had judicious editing been done to shorten the film to its essence. In this case, the length did not seem necessary to tell the simple stories. 5/10