The Place Beyond the Pines is a tough film to review, purely because it’s best to go into it knowing as little as possible about the narrative. A huge, sprawling, cross generational tale of crime, corruption, love and family, Pines is essentially split up into three very distinct acts and follows the lives of two families who are affected by the actions of Luke (Ryan Gosling), a fairground stunt rider who turns to a life of crime to support the son he never knew he had. The shifts in narrative are handled brilliantly as characters are gradually brought to the fore to focus on their individual story and everything leads to a surprisingly satisfying conclusion for what is, for the most part, a somewhat dark tale.
Performances are strong, not only from the headline cast of Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendes, but also from co-star Dane DeHaan who comes into the picture late but plays a pivotal role and leaves a lasting impression. Another actor in a smaller role, Emory Cohen also deserves credit for his part as the rather odious AJ.
A superb story which deserves to be seen and pondered, Pines is essential viewing.