This week's pick: "The Place Beyond the Pines" featuring both (yes, both) Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper. Honorable mention goes out to Eva Mendes and the then relatively unheard of Mahershala Ali.
It's gritty, gruesome, heartbreaking and full of surprises and -- I'm gonna warn ya now Dailybreak -- it ain't for everyone. "The Place Beyond the Pines" is violent. Ryan Gosling delivers an incredibly dark performance. Bradley Cooper is full of anxious, regretful power. Eva Mendes portrays a woman burdened with a child she didn't fully choose to have. A complicated movie to say the least.
Explicit language and graphic violence galore. You've been warned, so don't just scroll to the bottom of this article and tell us this "isn't your kind of movie."
What's it about, you ask?
At its core, this movie is about time, how it affects people and how we're destined to, in some way, shape or form, repeat the past. But we'll hold off on the philosophical analysis for now.
When a dirt bike ridin' carny named Luke (Gosling) returns to a New York town he toured through a year prior, there's a big surprise waiting for him: a baby boy. But, per usual, it's a little more complicated than just that. The young woman (Mendes) he had the child with has found another partner. Luke has no money, no prospects and no job. His life is the carnival and dirt bike riding. Alas, he chooses to stay.
He then chooses to do what any other logical, sane person who just discovered they have a child would do: rob banks! With the help of a close confidant, Robin (played by Ben Mendelsohn), Luke spray paints his bike black and burns a couple of banks. It's pretty awesome, to be honest -- he escapes by driving into the back of a U-Haul and then driving right past the cops in plain sight.
But, it catches up with him when a heist goes wrong. Officer Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper) chases Luke down and...
We don't wanna spoil it, and there's a lot left. Like, A LOT. A whole other two acts -- and they only get better.
But what makes it <i>different</i>?<div><sup>And why should I care?</sup></div>
It's tough to put your thumb on what makes this movie so different.
For starters, it's just a great freaking movie. "The Place Beyond the Pines" tackles so many issues, from parenthood to police work to murder to mental health and guilt. The movie is woven together in such a fantastically disjointed yet cohesive way that it sucks you in.
(I'm watching it as I write right now and honestly could have been done with this article an hour ago if I wasn't so distracted.)
Also, the third act. The third act, man. It parallels the first with such precision and intrigue that I could seriously watch it on its own. On repeat. The overall feeling it gives you when watching, the vibe or aesthetic or atmosphere it emits is so emotionally compelling you can't look away.
If you're still on the fence...
- Look at any of the above GIFs or pictures of Ryan Gosling
- Google pictures of Ryan Gosling
- Read another review of "The Place Beyond the Pines." Critics love it.
- Watch cool dirt bike movies on YouTube
- Get out of your comfort zone and just watch it.