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Place Beyond the Pines, The


Stars: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta, Ben Mendelsohn, Harris Yulin, Rose Byrne, Bruce Greenwood, Dane DeHaan, Emory Cohen, Mahershala Ali, Robert Clohessy

Director: Derek Cianfrance

Full of long drawn-out scenes and drony music, this nonetheless intriguingly plotted, epic-length drama is kept alive for an hour or so by the charismatic performance of Gosling; his disappearance half-way through the plot robs the film of what little momentum it had, a blander-than-usual Cooper proving no replacement in the latter half of the film, which rapidly goes south.

We first meet Gosling's Luke at the outset of the film as a heavily-tattooed, muscular wall-of-death rider at the circus. Saying goodbye to his annual love Romina (Mendes), Luke accidentally (and in rather unlikely fashion) discovers she has borne him a son.

Seeking to support the infant, even though Romina now has a husband, Kofi (Ali), Luke leaves the circus and, with the help of a mechanic and ex-criminal (Mendelsohn - good, as always; a Warren Oates for the 2000s), begins robbing banks to bring her money.

When his partner quits, Luke goes it alone, but is soon cornered by a lone policeman, Avery Cross. That's where Cooper comes into the story - and the film's focus shifts to his rise to assistant DA, fuelled by his informing on a ring of crooked cops, led by Deluca (Liotta) who, among many other crimes, have illegally appropriated the money given to Romina by Luke.

Rather bizarrely, Avery's son AJ (Cohen) grows up to be a nasty piece of work, while Luke's son Jason (DeHaan), whom AJ gets into trouble, is forever in search of his real father.

It's a long film that unfortunately seems twice its length, thanks mainly to selfiish work by the director, seemingly seeking to satisfy himself rather than his audience; moving the story along seems to be the last thing on his mind, although the ending is satisfyingly well-fashioned.

David Quinlan

USA 2012. UK Distributor: Studiocanal. Colour by deluxe.
140 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 08 Apr 2013