The Place Beyond the Pines plays out as if reading a historical novel that expands several generations. It is a tale of the "sins of the father" and how life patterns and circumstances overshadows the film with echoes of Cane and Abel laced throughout the saga. The opening scene showcases a dark and gritty visual of Ryan Gosling, Luke, as a tattooed self absorbed showman riding a motorcycle flamboyantly at a fair. Eva Mendes, Romina, passionately entranced by the bad boy, Luke, has a renewed fling, which the previous year had brought forth a child unbeknownst to Luke. Romina creates a well balanced life with a stable and loving man, Mahershala Ali, Kofi, whereas Luke is unable to connect within societies standards and instead embraces an empty and lonely existence evoking chaos and tragedy amongst the living. The consequences of self appointed exclusion denote demise, corruption and tragic consequences, while foreshadowing the next chapter in the saga.
Bradley Cooper, Avery, a well connected cop, ends the initial storyline, and stars in the second chapter. Avery, a hero, after ending the tragic life of Luke, officially embroils Luke and Avery for the remaining portion of the tale. Ray Liotta, Delucca, is a corrupted and self serving officer with a hidden agenda. Rose Bryne, Jennifer, Avery's wife, also has a small child similar to the age of Romina's Luke's child. The story aligns poignantly for the two small children to meet in the future. The third chapter of the tale infuses the two boys as teenagers. Avery's, son, Emery Cohen, AJ, is a drug pushing bully and Luke's son, Dane DeHaan, Jason, is seemingly good.
The movie is brilliant in questioning the existence of man, the choices of man and the results of isolation that is chosen by an individual. Strong healthy role models abound, yet the desire or perhaps the ingrained pattern tugs provoking evil and illogical actions. It is a curious expose how some rise and some never leave the pattern set forth by the "sins of the father". The Place Beyond the Pines is a moving and thought provoking flick that will not be forgotten. The acting is superb and the script formidable. The film touches many nerves, exploring the ugly and diabolical side of humanity. Yet the yearning too belong is so apparent. If only an individual could reach for it or even see it.