The Place Beyond the Pines (2013) Review

director: Derek Cianfrance

writers:  Derek Cianfrance, Ben Coccio & Darius Marder

starring: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendes

genre: Crime | Drama

released: April 11, 2013 (Greece), April 19, 2013 (U.S.), June 13, 2013 (Germany) 

Its not often that a film surprises you with its narrative and character focus without implementing or relying on big plot twists and character reveals. "The Place Beyond the Pines" is filled with fan favorite actors and thankfully its trailer doesn't give away too much of the story. Which is of a father's responsibility and the consequences to his actions. As the film shows the decisions we make last a lifetime and one day they may come to haunt us.


A stunt bike rider Luke (Ryan Gosling) finds out he has child and wishes re-connect with the mother and be apart of his son's life. As times passes by he sees that's its becoming ever more frustrating to be a permanent presence in his life without money. He then turns to robbing banks to support his child and his one day potential family.

The second character we follow Avery (Bradley Cooper) is a rookie cop who becomes a hero while capturing a perp and taking a bullet in the line of duty. Same as Luke with time things become even more difficult. Having to deal with family, injury, expectation and police corruption.

Both Luke and Avery and the choices they make will prove cataclysmic to their children's future and to their own fate. 


Not often does a drama and a film in general employ such a original sense of narrative. By following a group of characters that have intertwined fates and throughout their later lives. In fear of spoiling more on the film I'll just say. Once you see how the film treats its characters with the spontaneity of events. Meaning how it doesn't follow audience expectation and continually surprises us with the films direction. You will feel how special of a position you will be in to watch this film. That instead of it being all layed out for you. It plays it fast & loose and nine times out of ten it succeeds.

The film is all about being a father and the choices we make. How we have live up to them one day and take responsibility to whatever the consequences they may come with. We all want to do good by our children, but sometimes getting involved can lead to more trouble depending on the situation as we see in the film. Also learning from our mistakes and hoping are children won't do the same and become just like us.

Quite naturally the film isn't without flaw. Without spoiling much of the film. The change of focus in narrative and between characters can also be seen as a negative. As in some cases you will hope to follow specific characters, more than others and some characters will be given much more time and focus than expected.


This well orchestrated ensemble drama is one of the highlights of the year. Its style of presentation is distinct, having compelling performances and a mature and alternative take to telling the story of being a parent and the responsibility of it. Focusing in on the consequences of our actions and how they might affect others marvelously or even dangerously. It's not often that you get to see a story of being a father in such a self reflective and saddening manner.

Personal Rating: 

4.5 Stars.jpg

review by Paul Katsaros

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