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The Place Beyond the Pines - Film Review

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by Lisa Gulak (subscribe)
Traveller, physical fitness enthusiast, and freelance writer living in the beautiful country of Canada.
Published April 14th 2013
A legacy of shattered dreams
Two of the best looking actors in the business today, Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling, are in the same film. The Place Beyond the Pines is a crime drama directed by Derek Cianfrance. In addition to Cooper and Gosling, the film stars Eva Mendes and Ray Liotta.

The movie is divided into three parts, with Bradley Cooper appearing in the second part of the story. It begins with Ryan Gosling playing Luke Glanton, a stunt motorcycle rider in a traveling fair. When the fair stops in Schenectady, New York, Glanton sees his former flame who informs him that they have an infant son. Upon hearing this news, Glanton decides to quit as a stuntman to be near his child. His former girlfriend, played by Eva Mendes, is involved with someone else and reluctant to have Glanton reappear in her life.

He desires to support his child financially, but a lack of decent employment leads to him to crime, specifically robbing banks, as a way to obtain money. A bank robbery gone wrong draws in Officer Avery Cross, played by Bradley Cooper. The narrative switches to Cooper's character as the honourable cop is given hero status and is fighting corruption in his department.

The father of an infant son, Cooper's character feels guilt over the fateful conclusion with Glanton. The third act moves forward 15 years with both sons now teenagers. Cooper's character's son is a spoiled, bratty, rich teenager and Glanton's is a troubled, quieter young man unaware of his real father's actions. The boys are unaware of each other's shared history until the past begins to reveal itself.

The movie deals with some pretty heavy topics including fatherhood, fate, the legacy of sin, and shattered dreams. It could be melodramatic, but remarkably it isn't. The movie is 140 minutes and the time went by quickly and wasn't weighed down by the emotional themes.
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