HOLLYWOOD—Just when you think that Ryan Gosling has had his share of strong and dark performances that has shed the “cute boy” image that made him famous in “Remember the Titans” 13 years ago, you are mistaken-in a good way.
Gosling collaborates once again with his “Blue Valentine” director, Derek Cianfrance, and co-stars with recent Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper in the indie crime drama, “The Place Beyond the Pines.”
The story centralizes on Luke Glanton (Gosling), a daring motorcycle stuntman who travels the country to perform at state fairs. Glanton’s world changes when his former lover Romina (Eva Mendes) reveals to him that he is the father of her son. Typically, women are known to reveal this information to get support from their baby daddies. Interestingly, when Glanton quits his routine lifestyle to father his child, Romina does not want him to become involved in their son’s life.
Unphased, Glanton finds work in a auto shop to provide for his son Jason. When he is not making ends meet, Glanton goes down the dark path and begins to rob banks with his boss Robin (Ben Mendelsohn). The heists prove to be thrilling and risky, but effective. So effective that Romina begins to allow Glanton into his son’s life. However, Glanton’s happiness is cut short when he is arrested for assaulting Romina’s boyfriend Kofi (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali), who disapproves of Glanton becoming involved.
The story then switches gears by transitioning over to Avery Cross’ (Bradley Cooper) point of view. First, we see things from Glanton’s side and once he interacts with Cross, the story completely pulls a 180. Cross is a hard-working and dedicated officer who struggles with his law enforcement department and personal challenges through the years following his collision with Glanton. The stories of these two main protagonists prove to interconnected when a single move changes one life and brings a series of consequences that last a lifetime.
The film’s switch of narratives allows for viewers to connect with both Gosling and Cooper’s characters and share their triumphs and heartbreaks that leave one moved and riveted. The sharp and precise performances by these two Oscar nominees are reason alone to watch the film, but mixed with Cianfrance’s brilliant direction, the film is nothing short of amazing.
Moving and powerful, “The Place Beyond the Pines,” brings ethical dilemmas and questions that brings depth to the story and realism of the everyday struggles of man trying to do right in their eyes.
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