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Ryan Gosling
Bradley Cooper
Dane Dehaan
Eva Mendes.
Derek Cianfrance.
Derek Cianfrance
Ben Coccio
Darius Marder.
Running Time
141 minutes

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The Place Beyond The Pines
Baby Goose on the loose...

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Sideshow stunt rider Luke (Gosling) meets Romina (Mendes), a past fling who he discovers is now mother to a son he never knew he had. Eager to start a life with them, he decides the best way to make money fast is to become a bank robber.

The Place Beyond The Pines
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Derek Cianfrance's last project, the much-admired Blue Valentine, was as intimate as stories get, a microscopic look at a relationship’s lifespan largely told in the moments only the couple themselves see. At times it felt almost intrusive to watch. His follow-up is not nearly so shy, spreading itself much wider for an ambitious story about the fates of men whose lives are entangled by a single second of panic.

Ryan Gosling is sideshow motorcyclist ‘Handsome Luke’, a man so devoid of any real identity that even his signature is his full stage name, in childish block capitals, a little shout that he is someone. A woman from his past (Eva Mendes) brings both the possibility of a better life and a surprise baby, but in the absence of any real employment prospect he turns to bank robbery to provide for her and the son he’s just discovered. And awry things go. This criminal life unites his path with that of Avery (Bradley Cooper), a beat cop with quiet ambition, and ties both of them to disaffected school kid Jason (Dane DeHaan).

You have to want to go on the journey with Cianfrance because he’s not one for rushing anywhere, preferring to hang out with his characters and let the story seep out of them, mundane conversations giving up nuggets of the past and, when they’re good and ready, a bit of forward momentum. Frequently this can be absorbing and lovely. The early scenes, focused on Gosling’s Luke, relax in the confidence of having a character of such burning charisma — heavily tattooed, brilliant at riding motorbikes, lives at the circus, wears retro T-shirts inside out without looking like his mum got him dressed in a hurry — that as an audience you’ll happily watch him do anything, like admiring the school cool kid from afar. The opening shot is just one long take following Luke from his trailer to his motorcycle, but it’s enough to immediately make you want to know more about this guy who has the job you thought you wanted when you were nine. There’s a languid, last days of summer feel to it, particularly in the flirty scenes between Gosling and Mendes.

At other times this strolling style hurts the film. In its later stages the story pulls into thriller territory, with some disappointing reliance on coincidence and contrivance, and Cianfrance is not so strong at telling his story in a hurry, ending up with a jerky, stumbling pace that equally rushes and wanders. As he beefs up the amount of plot, his characters become thinner and thinner, drifting away just when you should be caring more and more about their fates. Only one of the main characters’ stories ends with any real thump.

Yet any disappointments with the film are because there’s so much that’s great. The opening 40 minutes are a dream, and if it had carried on at that level, this might have been one of the best films of the year. The cast all push themselves to do surprising things with characters with whom they could have coasted — you might think you know what you’re getting from Gosling as a stunt rider, Cooper as a cop and Mendes as a confused romantic, but you don’t. So the slowly diminishing returns feel not like a movie becoming in any way bad, because it’s always so very far from being bad, but rather the gradual slipping away of something very special.

In trying to tell an enormous amount of story it can spread itself too thin and leave some strands feeling unfinished, but when it’s at its best, this is beautiful and bold filmmaking.

Reviewed by Olly Richards

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Average user rating for The Place Beyond The Pines
Empire Star Rating

Just wish it was longer.

I didn't find any part of this movie uninteresting. I was grateful for the pace and the fact that it's really 3 movies in one. I think this would have made an outstanding TV event and I wish it could be 4 hour-long episodes, really. I can't see how wanting more is really a criticism. Plus, any show smart enough to hire Ben Mendelsohn has to be doing something right. I'll give you 100 Battleships for one Place... any day of the week. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Nicky C at 12:36, 11 December 2013 | Report This Post

RE: Great!

I love this film.Any arguement that a film is too long is aesthetic nonsense. Visual,visceral and superbly acted. Gosling seems to get unwarranted criticism in every film he's in Great soundtrack too. What the bloody hell is wrong with people-it even has a twist for fans of twists. ... More

Posted by CriticNumberOne at 15:35, 11 October 2013 | Report This Post

RE: Great!

Good film with fine performances and an engaging story and structure, but as already mentioned that last act was unnecessarily drawn out and seemed to start labouring a point, so the film could easily have been trimmed by about 15 minutes. Negative - Everyone is quite unlikeable in this (with the possible exception of the stepdad Kofi) so as it progressed further I found it tough to care what happens to anyone. Positive - The raids scenes, acting and overall cinematography are pretty ... More

Posted by Vitamin F at 13:24, 09 September 2013 | Report This Post


I feel like cianfrance was watching the godfather a lot while writing this, or other movies of that style. The long arching story isn't for everyone, but if you enjoy that in movies, you'll love this. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by fightclubber954 at 04:09, 28 August 2013 | Report This Post

The Place Beyond the Pines

The scope, cast and plot this story has made me believe, before it was released, that it was going to be the most amazing film I was going to see this year. The truth is that it was a good film, but not like I expected it to be. The first act is what makes it worth a watch. It's devastating and near-perfect. The second act was really good, although not as much as the first one. Unfortunately, by the time we get to the third act, the film dips because of its own ambitions, and completely derails ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nc_jj at 04:27, 07 August 2013 | Report This Post

RE: The Place Beyond the Pines

One of the better films I've seen recently. I'll agree, the latter half of the film really tapers off into some questionable choices, but then it rounds up nicely for me in the end. Ryan Gosling is as good as he's ever been, and the relationships he carries throughout the movie are fantastic. Eva Mendez and Ben Mendhelsohn are amazing in my eyes, where as Bradley Cooper is quieter than usual. The plot was somewhat predictable at times, and Bradley Cooper's on-screen son is an absolute pest. Dan... More

Posted by Will Frey at 18:08, 10 July 2013 | Report This Post

RE: The Place Beyond the Pines

Easily one of my favourite films this year. The opening 2 minute shot of Luke walking through the fairground is just perfect; really shows the two sides of the place. It was wearing slightly thin by the end of it, the ending was slightly laughable too, but overall still really, really enjoyed it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by V.E.N.O.M at 10:22, 10 July 2013 | Report This Post

The Place Beyond the Pines Co mpelling, real and featuring great performances. Essentially a film about the choices we make and the impact that has on the people close to us. Where Blue Valentine Derek Cianfrance’s earlier film dissects a marriage in deadfall, Pines focuses on fathers and sons and the ties that bind from one generation to the next. Can you break from the cycle? A lot of handheld camera work, improvisation and jumpy editing propel the film. Cianf... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Conboy at 15:14, 08 June 2013 | Report This Post

A great film, hiding in a dull one...

There are excellent performances all round and some great set-pieces, but quite frankly I just didn't care enough to want to spend this amount of time around these characters. The lulls between the key story points were too frequent and lengthy to get me to really buy into it at all. Oh, and that Metallica t-shirt that Gosling wears? I used to have that. I don't know where it ever ended up. It was far more washed out than the one in the film, so I don't think Ryan stole it from me, althoug... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheMightyBlackout at 00:15, 07 May 2013 | Report This Post

RE: bored rigid

Like the directors prevouis Blue Valentine this took a fairly standard plot and turned it into something very edgy, surreal and powerful with a uique sense of location and atmosphere. Once again TPBTP sees a autuer filmmaker at work, this is a very distincive and bold work. The camera becomes fixieted on Ryan Gosling's Luke character from the rivetting opening of him about to perform a motor cycle stunt. Like in Drive, the viewer can sense an energy and darkness to this simliar deadpan c... More

Posted by ElephantBoy at 10:27, 05 May 2013 | Report This Post

RE: bored rigid

L: HERMES_67 The pace is similar to watching paint dry. assume this is coming from experience then? L: R W A couple of years ago, was the release of Derek Cianfrance’s second feature Blue Valentine which depicted a married couple, shifting back and forth in time between their courtship and the dissolution of their marriage several years later. The film was subtle and emotionally-wrenching, as well as initially gained a controversial NC-17 rating. Working once again with R... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 22:00, 02 May 2013 | Report This Post

RE: The Place Beyond The Pines

A couple of years ago, was the release of Derek Cianfrance’s second feature Blue Valentine which depicted a married couple, shifting back and forth in time between their courtship and the dissolution of their marriage several years later. The film was subtle and emotionally-wrenching, as well as initially gained a controversial NC-17 rating. Working once again with Ryan Gosling, their latest collaboration is an ambitious blend of subtlety and epicness. After discovering his former lover (E... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by R W at 20:18, 02 May 2013 | Report This Post

Class act

This film should be any reviewers dream, a film that requires only one word to describe it. One simple word: Masterpiece. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jack Ryan at 09:17, 28 April 2013 | Report This Post

bored rigid

The pace is similar to watching paint dry. Its way to long with way way too little action to keep you interested. Probably one for the more sedate type. Avoid if possible. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by HERMES_67 at 20:50, 26 April 2013 | Report This Post

bored rigid

The pace is similar to watching paint dry. Its way to long with way way too little action to keep you interested. Probably one for the more sedate type. Avoid if possible. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by HERMES_67 at 20:50, 26 April 2013 | Report This Post

The Place Beyond the pines

One of the best films i have ever seen! loved the story, the idea and how amazingly deep it was. Flippin awesome acting, flippin mint directing and gosling was flippin great. Pretty long but i was willing to watch more. Deep, moving and tence. the place beyond the pines had me at the edge of my seat i never knew what was going to happen the whole time. loved it! Best film in 2012 - Django unchained Best film in 2013 - The Place beyond the Pines! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ruddick at 23:13, 24 April 2013 | Report This Post

RE: so-so

Enjoyable, but it could've done with some trimming tbh. ... More

Posted by Filmfan 2 at 14:37, 23 April 2013 | Report This Post

RE: so-so

I hate all the above people who didn't unamously love this. ... More

Posted by Deviation at 19:59, 21 April 2013 | Report This Post

RE: so-so

The first section concentrating on Gosling's Handsome Luke is flawless. Really amazing film making, but the rest doesn't hold up. I've only seen Gosling in Drive and while he was good, I hadn't fully bought into the buzz around him. I wasn't sure how much of it was him and how much was the work of other factors in the film, but after this I am totally sold. The brief section in the church and the bank robberies are amazing and even apart from those you can't take your eyes off him. T... More

Posted by Invader_Ace at 12:08, 21 April 2013 | Report This Post


I agree that the first 40 mins are decent - there's a nice dynamic to the Gosling/Mendes scenario, especially when you throw in her new fella. Cooper slowly becomes more interesting as his story progresses. But overall, it offers far too little surprises once the first act/movement ends. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tysmuse at 22:33, 18 April 2013 | Report This Post


I find it hard to believe that I could say that a film starring both Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper could be boring but if it wasn't for my strict policy of not walking out of films I'd have happily skipped out of this at about 50 minutes in and not have had to endure the ploddingly paced, cliche ridden remaining 90 minutes or so - God, this was boring!! It looks really good and appropriately grim given the story but the third act really should have been a 5 minute epilogue about history repe... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by chubs at 23:25, 15 April 2013 | Report This Post


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