The Place Beyond the Pines: A Place to be Visited—Movie

Shakespearean in nature, “The Place Beyond the Pines” takes some huge risks and succeeds on most levels.

Directed by Derek Cianfrance and written by Cianfrance, Ben Coccio and Darius Marder, “The Place Beyond the Pines” revolves around two men, their connecting stories, and how their early encounter impacts their lives and the lives of their loved ones forever. If this seems ambitious, it is, and explains the nearly 2 ½ hours running time. However, the film is so engaging that you are never bored and the time flies by.The Place Beyond the Pines

“The Place Beyond the Pines” features three actors at the top of their game. Ryan Gosling has yet to turn in a bad performance and he doesn’t disappoint here as Luke, the motorcyclist drifter struggling to find himself and a life. Eva Mendes is very compelling as Romina, Luke’s yesteryear girlfriend. But the real star of “Pines” is Bradley Cooper. He is fantastic as the cop with so many inner conflicts it makes one’s head spin as he struggles to do right by his father, his marriage and family, all while trying to live up to his own expectations and moral compass. It’s the role of a life-time and Cooper is more than up to the challenge.

“Pines” is set and filmed in Schenectady, NY. The area is immediately familiar to anyone from upstate New York and lends an air of authenticity to the film. “The Place Beyond the Pines” features a terrific supporting cast. Ray Liotta, on a career resurgence, shines as the cop with questionable ethics. Ben Mendelsohn is equally good as Robin, the mechanic who takes Luke under his wing…for good and bad. Also look for standout performances from Bruce Greenwood and Harris Yulin.

Based on previews and commercials, ” Pines” was not at all what I expected. It was so much more.

3 1/2 nuggets out of 4

 

 

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