“The Place Beyond The Pines” boasts a stellar cast, probably too stellar for a story that is pretty typical. Luke (Ryan Gosling) is a daredevil motorcycle driver who finds out he has a son and wants more meaning to his life. Luke starts robbing banks in order to afford a better life for his family as his baby’s mother Romina (Eva Mendes) is shacking up in her boyfriend’s house. Okay, maybe the story is not that typical. Just before Luke could set it off, he is arrested and put in jail, curbing his adrenaline rush. When the story seems to reach the point where it can’t move further, it jumps fifteen years.
Eva Mendes delivers an incredibly dramatic performance, putting herself into the trenches of an emotionally scarred and trapped woman. Rose Byrne is a quiet force as Avery’s (Bradley Cooper) wife who is very concerned for her husband. Dane Dehaan plays the older Jason, Luke and Romina’s son, and seems destined to perfectly forever play the lonely stoner. Bradley Cooper was committed to his role as Avery, seemingly eager to escape the pretty boy persona he is deemed by in the media. Ryan Gosling was good but he plays in so many independent films that besides the blond hair and very fake tattoos, his performance isn’t different. And what was with Luke’s high-pitched voice when he robbed banks? Ben Mendelsohn played a solid role as Luke’s robber accomplice, Robin, much different than his trysohardtobesuave John Daggett in “The Dark Knight Rises.” Ray Liotta had a very much supporting role as Peter Deluca, one of Avery’s colleagues, performed in true Ray gangster fashion. All of the characters dealt with the aftermath of being haunted by their connection to Luke, which may explain why the film moves so slowly.
The location of upstate New York is captivating. The sprawling miles compliment the films title, not making it too literal to the happenings of the story but the place where these incidents occur. Derek Cianfrance’s direction is a dark treasure for the story.