I am starting a new series that brings light to criminally under appreciated films of the past that deserve recognition.
“The Place Beyond the Pines” is a film released in 2012. It was directed and co-written by Derek Cianfrance, he is mostly known for directing the film “Blue Valentine”.
The story follows Luke Glanton (Ryan Gosling) a stunt motorcycle rider who turns to bank robbery to support his recently born son, and Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper) an ambitious rookie cop with something to prove, who also has recently became a father.
Calling this film a “cop and robber drama” or a “robbery gone wrong film” would honestly be an insult to the film. Yes, these aspects are very prevalent in the film, but there is so much more to the film that makes it stand out from the rest of the films in this genre.
The film deals with the issues of child rearing, morality, decisions and the consequences for actions.
Both of the main characters recently became fathers, and they both have to deal with the new enormous responsibility of raising a child.
The first act follows Glanton after he finds out a pass lover bared his child without his knowledge. Once he finds out he has a son to take care of, he becomes determined to provide for the child in any way he can. This in turn, leads to armed bank robbery.
While the second act follows Cross, and how he has to deal with the major consequences for his actions. He works in a corrupt police department, with many officers being apart of a massive conspiracy. Cross must make serious decisions for himself and his family, after being involved in this corruption.
The third act follows Cross’s and Glanton’s sons after a time skip. The sons are now in their teenage years, and the effects of what their fathers did in the first two acts begin to affect the two sons significantly.
The story is truly compelling, and it relates to real everyday life for new parents.
The direction by Cianfrance was absolutely incredible, especially in the first act. The bank robbery scenes were video graphed tremendously, these scenes will put you on the edge of your seat, seeing Glanton speeding in and out of traffic on a supped up motorcycle.
Another interesting aspect of the film is that each act has it’s own clearly defined climax, that segments into the next act. To avoid spoilers, I am not going to bring up the context of the climaxes, but trust me when I say each act is built up perfectly, and you will will be shocked at the end of each act.
Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper deliver incredible performances as these characters. Both of these actors are very talented, but their performances in this film are just breath taking. Out of all of Bradley Cooper’s performances I have seen, I believe this is his best performance.
In fact, according to IMDB, Cianfrance claims he would not of made the film with out Cooper as Avery Cross.
“Co-Writer and Director Derek Cianfrance claims that he would not have made the movie without Bradley Cooper cast as Avery Cross. In fact, he drove five hours to Montreal, Quebec to meet with Cooper in person to convince him to take the role. Cianfrance says he did write the role for Cooper, ‘a guy who’s paraded around as a hero, but inside feels corrupted,'” IMDB wrote under the trivia section for the film.
This film was overall was received well by critics, but it had a limited release in the United States. The film seems to have been forgotten over the years. Which is a shame, because this film deserves to remembered as one of the many big greats of the 2010’s.
This film is currently streaming on Netflix.
The full trailer can be viewed here.
Jordan Boyer is a senior history major, he can be reached 581-2812 or [email protected]