THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES directed by Derek Cianfrance, written by Cianfrance, Ben Coccio and Darius Marder, with Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes, Bradley Cooper, Dane DeHaan and Emory Cohen. An Alliance Films release. 140 minutes. Opens Friday (April 12). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: NN
Derek Cianfrance and his Blue Valentine star, Ryan Gosling, reunite for a very different movie - and one that's far less satisfying.
The Place Beyond The Pines uses a triptych structure to tell one long, sprawling story set in and around Schenectady, New York, where a stunt motorcyclist (Gosling) looks up an old girlfriend (Eva Mendes), learns he's fathered her child and tries to support them by robbing banks.
When he crosses paths with a local cop (Bradley Cooper), Cianfrance's focus shifts to that character's struggles to do right in a crooked world, and then there's yet another shift to a pair of high-school students (Dane DeHaan, Emory Cohen) dealing with their own deeply rooted issues. There's a moral of sorts, and a few thoughts on the cyclical nature of violence, but Cianfrance takes his sweet time getting to them.
Gosling's still magnetic as hell, though; when he's on screen, even covered from head to toe in biker gear, you can't look at anyone else.