peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2022 03 14 ThePlaceBeyondThePines

The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)

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Derek Cianfrance completism. Ryan Gosling leads as a never-do-well motorcycle stunt rider/robber with a wild oat until Bradley Cooper takes over as an ambitious cop. (The latter is essentially an underbaked, humourless retread of Guy Pearce's role in L.A. Confidential, and unfortunately the transition is not a David Lynch move.) Rounding out the excellent but underused cast are Rose Byrne as Cooper's wife, Eva Mendes and Mahershala Ali as parents, Ray Liotta at his blandest. Ben Mendelsohn's initial scenes are warm, friendly, funny with loads of energy. His character is too minor, too shallow for this to endure.

The ambition is for something like a crossbreed of a multi generational sprawling fable like Magnolia with the slickness of Michael Mann's Thief. (The opportunity to reheat the classic James Caan/Tuesday Weld scene is there but not taken; Gosling's character is not on that level.) It's just too flat, and by the time we get to the third act things are predictably tiresome; those boys are too young and cliched to hold our interest, and all the drugs and violence in the world aren't going to help with that. Mike Patton is credited with the tunes.

A. O. Scott. Dana Stevens: too soulfully self-serious.