The Place Beyond The Pines by itself is an interesting title. It is actually the literal meaning of Schenectady, a town in New York where this film both takes place and is filmed. Damn these clever directors and writers!
The title is also mysterious enough on its own right to potentially gain viewers by itself. Every time there is a bad movie title, I tend to harp on it, so I felt it was my duty to point out the excellent ones as well.
Hey girl, even though I am surrounded by flashy lights and neon signs, all I can see is you.
Luke (Ryan Gosling) is a motorcycle rider for a traveling fair, the guy who gets into the tiny steel ball and rides around. It is a lonely life, always traveling, but he can sometimes find love in the random towns that he stays at. Like Romina (Eva Mendes), who he had a nice time with last year, but now lives with a man (Mahershala Ali) and has a son. Well, Luke’s son it turns out.
Luke doesn’t know how to handle this situation, but he doesn’t want to be a scumbag father, like his own, so he quits his job and settles in Schenectady. He finds a job as an auto mechanic with Robin (Ben Mendelsohn), but it still isn’t enough. He needs a large sum, and he needs it now. So why not rob a bank? Who does that really hurt?
This film also tells of Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper), a law school student turned cop, who doesn’t want to follow in the footsteps of his own father (Harris Yulin), a member of the state supreme court. Even the small towns may have local corruption, and that corruption may cause conflict in his household with his wife (Rose Byrne) and other cops (Ray Liotta).
Hey girl, I know I am no Ryan Gosling, but check out these cheekbones. Hey, wait, come back!
The movie is split up pretty nicely into three parts, with the end of part one coming out of left field. It was well acted up to that point, but it was still missing a major umph to get my full attention, and it was sure to bring it. After that, I was hooked and couldn’t look away from the screen, wondering what other secrets and twists it had in store for me.
Everything about this movie felt amazing to me, especially the acting. Eva Mendes is basically the only woman character in this movie. Lately, she seems to be put in movies more often for her looks than her talents, but she definitely delivers in this film.
I have talked to about five-six people about this movie, and at least from the “guy perspective” everyone loved it. The one woman I talked to thought it was decent, but not the best. The themes presented may be easier to latch on to for men, since it falls so heavily into the son/father relationship category, but despite that I think this movie can be enjoyed by everyone.
It might just be the best drama I have seen so far in 2013. This with Silver Linings Playbook has elevated Bradley Cooper into an elite acting category, and it will take more than a new Hangover to knock him down from it.