Directed by Derek Cianfrance
Screenplay by Derek Cianfrance, Ben Coccio and Darius Marder
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes, Bradley Cooper, Ray Liotta, Mahershala Ali, Bruce Greenwood, Ben Mendelsohn, Rose Byrne, Harris Yulin, Robert Clohessy, Emory Cohen and Dane DeHaan
It has been awhile since I have reviewed a movie. I'm recovering from being snubbed by the LAMMY committee for the fourth year in a row. Apart from being the Susan Lucci on the blogging world, I wanted to see a good movie to lighten my mood. Raving about his previous directorial effort, Blue Valentine, Derek Cianfrance follows it up with The Place Beyond the Pines. I hate the title and mostly everything about this film.
Ryan Gosling re-teams with Cianfrace playing "Awesome" Luke, a motocross rider that works for a traveling caravel. The job takes him to his old stomping grounds of Schenectady, New York where he bumps into his ex-fling, Romina (Mendes) that kept a secret from him. A son named Jason. Luke wants to get back into his son's life but there are major hurdles in his way; one is her boyfriend, Kofi (Ali) and not having money to support them. A brilliant idea has been concocted when Robin (Mendelsohn) tells Luke to become a bank robber. Seeing that he was good with it, Luke becomes cocky and alerts the attention of the police, particularly rookie cop, Avery Cross (Cooper).
The movie seems like three movies into one. You have the first act that is trying to be like the infamous Best Picture winner, Crash, where characters have to bump into each other to get any kind of interaction. The second act of the movie is like any stereotypical cop movie where the good cop tries to play with the bad ones and gets in too deep. The third act of the film is trying to say that no matter where you go, life comes back around in a bad way.
There is something about this movie that rubbed me the wrong way. It was like I have seen this type of movie before. The plot felt very contrived and recycle. It was nothing fresh or new about it that could set it apart from any other movie. The motivations of some characters in the final act left me puzzled.
They only thing I liked about the movie with the Bradley Cooper performance. It was a solid performance of a rookie cop that tries to do the right thing in a wrong world.
The expectation of the movie was raised to an impossible level for me to enjoy the film that much. Maybe a few years down the line, my opinion would change.