The way one chooses to do things, all rides on what they feel is right in their mind. Different aspects of all things will lead one to believe what they are doing is more significant to others than just themselves. Luckily, our conscience eventually sets in and makes us fully aware of the consequences that will carry out if we do not pick the right path.
The Place Beyond the Pines, directed by Derek Cianfrance, picks apart 4 different angles all coming from 4 different characters. In the beginning, we are introduced to Luke Glanton (Ryan Gosling), a well-known stuntman who makes minimum wage working at a state fair. After a brief visit from his ex-lover, he finds out that she has given birth to a son who happens to belong to him. Realizing he wants to be a father to his child, he quits his gig as a stuntman, and decides to stay in town to provide for his family. Unfortunately, his ex-lover (Eva Mendez) is already romantically involved with someone. Picking up work with a creepy mechanic, who puts a not-so-good-idea into his head, he finds he cannot provide enough duty for his family, and makes a desperate choice to rob banks in his area. After several successful runs, his last job goes undone, and he winds up being killed by a local cop Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper), who probably shouldn’t have shot him in the first place. From here, the perspective changes into the eyes of Cross, Cross’s son, and finally Glanton’s son. Although each character partakes in their own persona, they all relate back to one another in some sort of way.
Upon seeing this film, I had no idea what to expect. I knew Gosling had some sort of big role being some kind of hotshot driver, like in his most recent film Drive, where he actually plays a professional stuntman or heist driver like Jason Statham in the Transporter series. His role is cut short thanks to Bradley Cooper who replaces him to continue the story. Not reading into the plot before hand, made me second-guess myself on where Cianfrance was going to lead the film. Once you’re inside the mind of AJ, Cross’s son, then things start to jump into place. Towards the end, you start falling in love with the characters, and sometimes, your favorite one turns out to be the one who you never saw being as important as others.
The film does a good job in keeping the viewer interested. Although there is a lot of talking throughout the film, the minor chitchat drives the storyline and makes you comprehend exactly what may be coming next. It’s amazing to see how one little mistake or one honest truth can change so much about someone.
The camera is placed well all through the film. It’s a very emotional piece due to the extreme involvement of the characters. Multiple close-ups aid to you in feeling exactly how the character feels on screen. Another feat, which I’ve never seen, done is fast forwarding the film 15 years into the future and taking up close to an hour of the remaining film, unlike most films which only provide a brief glimpse or conclusion to explain the overall ending.
The overall purpose of the film I feel is to show that even though you think you may be doing the right thing, the way you go about doing it may be the wrong way in the end. If you’re a fan of Gosling, Cooper, or just like a good story to follow, The Place Beyond the Pines succeeds indefinitely.