Film review: The Place Beyond the Pines

Several years ago, my mom and I went to see a movie we knew very little about. All we knew was that it was getting great reviews and that it was called No Country For Old Men. After watching the movie I was blown away by how good it was and was for the rest of the day on the alert for dudes with awful haircuts wielding a cattle prod.

I entered my viewing of The Place Beyond the Pines under similar conditions, only that I was with a friend and not my mom this time around. When I finished watching, I realized it was a movie I had gone into with almost a blank slate. It’s a bit of a long movie, at almost 2.5 hours, and it actually feels like three movies in one. There’s an outlaw story, a corruption story and finally a “sins of the father” story.

The film stars Ryan Gosling as Luke Glanton, a tattooed, not-too-pleasant motorcycle rider who finds out he has a one-year-son born from an old flame played by Eva Mendes.

Luke quits his job as a stuntman (or something like that) and tries to provide for Ro (his old girlfriend) and his son, Jason. Suffice to say he makes some less-than-admirable choices in how he obtains his money.

Later on, a cop played by Bradley Cooper factors into it, and I don’t want to spoil the plot any further to leave in surprises for those who have yet to see it.

The film is intensely watchable thanks to Gosling’s incredible performance as Luke. He excels at playing a completely unlikeable character that you can’t keep your eyes away from. Then there’s the various members of the police department who will not give moviegoers a very positive image of the way a police force is run.

There are numerous moments in the film in which silence speaks volumes, both in terms of Gosling and Cooper’s characters. You probably won’t cry watching this movie, but you’ll certainly feel the pain that many of these characters feel. There’s really no such thing as a perfect family, as you’ll see.

Some of the driving sequences will keep moviegoers entranced. I felt almost dizzy as a scene shows Luke zipping through a forest on a motorcycle, and a car chase later in the movie is similarly frantic.

The one downside to the movie is that it’s a little overlong. I feel like at least fifteen minutes could have been shaved off the runtime, if not more.

But I was still absorbed and definitely on the edge of my seat towards the end of the movie. It’s an intense ride, and one well worth going on.


2 thoughts on “Film review: The Place Beyond the Pines

  1. CMrok93

    Nothing against the cast at all, it’s just that I found myself getting less and less engaged with the story as it went along. Nice review Michael.

    1. glasspaperweight Post author

      Thanks! I definitely know what you mean- I don’t know why the “Fifteen years later” part needed to be as long as it was.


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