The sins of fathers are revisited upon the sons in Derek Cianfrance’s doom-laden triptych, which reunites the award-winning writer-director with his Blue Valentine star, Ryan Gosling.
The Place Beyond The Pines is a slow-burning meditation on crime and punishment, which treats the morally flawed characters with sensitivity, never condemning them for their reckless and sometimes immoral actions.
Cianfrance’s penchant for intimate, emotionally raw scenes serves him well here too, and he elicits eye-catching performances, particularly from Gosling.
Fearless motorcyclist Luke Glanton (Gosling) is part of a stunt show in a travelling circus, moving from town to town, and girl to girl, without ever laying down roots.
By chance, Luke learns that he fathered a son by one former conquest, Romina (Eva Mendes), who has found herself a boyfriend, Kofi (Mahershala Ali), to provide stability for the infant. Luke plots to supplant Kofi as the man of the house and joins forces with mechanic Robin (Ben Mendelsohn) to raise cash by robbing banks.
Enterprising cop Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper) is in the right place at the right time to apprehend Luke during a botched robbery, and 15 years later, the men’s wayward offspring, AJ (Emory Cohen) and Jason (Dane DeHaan), are flung together with violent consequences.