Film Review: Crime, Fatherhood Intersect in ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’

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CHICAGO – Derek Cianfrance’s masterful “The Place Beyond the Pines” is a complex, epic piece of storytelling about the ripple effect of crime through families and across generations. Drastic action does not exist in a vacuum. It influences generations below and those impacted by their parent’s decisions. When motorcycle stuntman Luke Glanton (Ryan Gosling) meets the child he didn’t know he had after a fling with the lovely Romina (Eva Mendes), it sets in motion a sequence of events that has the Shakespearian feel of the inevitable. More thematically dense and ambitious than any crime film you’ll see this year and with an incredible ensemble, “The Place Beyond the Pines” is the kind of daring, adult drama that critics bemoan doesn’t get made nearly enough. Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

Luke and Romina slept together the last time he was coming through Schenectady on his carnival road show. Romina has a man (Mahershala Ali) now, a waitress job, and a son by Luke, but she doesn’t need or want anything from him. Nonetheless, Luke feels something pulling inside him to stay, to take care of his boy and maybe even build a family with Romina. He gets a crap job as a mechanic with a ripped t-shirt redneck named Robin (Ben Mendelsohn) and lives in a trailer behind the guy’s shed but there’s just not enough cash to get Romina back. When Robin mentions that he’s robbed four banks in his life and that it’s incredibly easy if you don’t get too greedy and don’t try to do it too often, Luke becomes a criminal.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “The Place Beyond the Pines” in our reviews section.

If you think at this point that “The Place Beyond the Pines” is going to be about the fall and eventual rehabilitation of a bank robber not unlike “The Town,” Cianfrance is about to throw you for a loop. I wouldn’t spoil the way “Pines” unfolds but it’s likely not the movie you think it’s going to be going in or even after the first hour (or the second). The decision that Luke makes to rob one bank and then another one and then another one will send shockwaves through the lives of a rookie cop named Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper), his wife Jennifer (Rose Byrne), his father Al (Harris Yulin), his shady colleague Deluca (Ray Liotta), and two teenagers about to learn devastating truths about their past (Emory Cohen & Dane DeHaan).

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “The Place Beyond the Pines” review.

“The Place Beyond the Pines” stars Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Dane DeHaan, Eva Mendes, Mahershala Ali, Ben Mendelsohn, Rose Byrne, Harris Yulin, Bruce Greenwood, Ray Liotta, and Emory Cohen. It was directed by Derek Cianfrance. It is now playing in some markets and opens Friday, April 5, 2013 in Chicago.

The Place Beyond the Pines
The Place Beyond the Pines
Photo credit: Focus Features

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