I’m still trying to find the right words to describe to you just how good of a movie The Place Beyond the Pines is. Sometimes, just sometimes, everything falls into place. Like a great killing streak in a video game or a perfect score, this movie is proof that miracles do happen. I will try to contain my excitement and tell you more about it but I’m not making any promises. The Place Beyond the Pines is a slow-burning neo-noir thriller telling three different stories connected by powerful emotions and concepts. This is a character-driven tragedy focusing on characters struggling with guilt and redemption but also manliness and father-son relationships.
Those two last subjects are the most intriguing. The concept of manliness is regularly explored in movies but in a safe way. We don’t want to scare the general population too much because they might not buy the ticket to see that next movie. The Place Beyond the Pines is a movie that explores manliness in a subversive and thought-provoking way. It looks at the way it interacts with other aspects of family life and how the next generation perceives it. Characters are so well written that at the end of the movie, you will feel that you actually know them, in real life.
To me, Luke was the most fascinating character. A classical bad boy who has trouble written all over him. And yet there’s this air of charisma and magnetic attraction floating around him. Not to mention the fact that Ryan Gosling plays him. He didn’t make me question my sexuality but I was damn near close. And the scenes are so fucking immersive. During that opening scene with the carnival globe of death, I could smell, see and feel that carnival atmosphere. At this point, I should tell you that the running time of this movie is over two hours, so it’s going to take up your whole evening. And it will be damn worth it.
Luke (Ryan Gosling) is a skilled motorcyclist who rides the globe of death at a traveling carnival. He is an epitome of a bad boy, with no friends or family, just a bunch of tattoos and a knack for trouble. Never having any real responsibility or direction in his life, Luke finds himself troubled by the fact that the girl he had a fling with during the last visit to the carnival, has given birth to his child. Determined to provide for his son and without any “real life job” skills he decides to rob a bank. At the same time Cross, a beat cop, just doing his job the best as he can, doesn’t know anything about Luke or his son…
I will leave you with just the “first” story, in my opinion, the best. The rest is up to you to discover. Three stories seemingly woven together, with realistic characters and with a lot of intense scenes is something that’s very hard to achieve. Combining crime and drama with intense emotions to achieve the status of an epic is an undertaking worthy of an Oscar. However, a deeper analysis reveals a declining quality in the stories. And a question of whether the director should have focused his efforts on Luke and the first story. Now that movie would be a fucking classic. Luckily, we the viewers, can leave this to professionals and just enjoy this masterpiece…
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Writer: Derek Cianfrance, Ben Coccio, Darius Marder
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes, Olga Merediz, Bradley Cooper, Rose Byrne, Ray Liotta, Mahershala Ali
Fun Facts: There’s a specific method of robbing banks that’s called Friday Night Robber used by Carl Gugasian. This is the method Luke uses to rob banks.