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Place Beyond the Pines, The (Blu-ray Review)

9 Aug, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Box Office $21.4 million
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for language throughout, some violence, teen drug and alcohol use, and a sexual reference.
Stars Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta.

When done right, the sins of the father visited upon the son can make for a good cinematic narrative.

In noteworthy drama The Place Beyond the Pines, director Derek Cianfrance follows his breakout film, Blue Valentine (also starring Ryan Gosling), with a lengthy (2.5 hours), measured story about fathers on apparent opposite sides of the law.

Gosling plays Luke, a motorcycle daredevil riding in circles (literally) with a traveling circus, who reconnects with one-night stand Romina (Eve Mendes). She’s a single mom now caring for their son with a new boyfriend (Mahershala Ali).

Luke wants to take care of his son, but the carnival does not pay as well as robbing banks. With each successful heist, caution becomes a casualty, which results in a confrontation with a rookie cop named Avery (Bradley Cooper).

Avery, who also has a young son and bride (Rose Byrne), is looking to climb the ranks in a New York metro police station riddled with corruption. Fast-forward 15 years and both his and Luke’s sons (well-played by Dane DeHaan and Emory Cohen) cross paths with equal parts emotional baggage.

Without divulging too many plot twists, Beyond the Pines delivers, albeit with a bit of a cliché-addled final act. A perfunctory making-of special feature adds little to the film’s expansive backstory, which is a shame, considering director Cianfrance’s bold ambitions.

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