The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


Two main roles in one movie

In most films, only one central protagonist exists. The story is built around him or her and then filled with supporting characters and antagonists to support that main character.

It’s rare in film, let alone any type of fictional work, that a story contains two protagonists. And it’s even rarer to separate those two protagonists into two different story arcs.

That’s exactly the type of bold move that the film “The Place Beyond the Pines” pulls off though. Surprisingly, the ambitious move worked to perfection.

With the exception of a brief scene, lead actors Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper never share the same stage for this brilliantly directed film.

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The movie first centers on Luke Glanton (Gosling), a well-known motorcycle stuntman who performs alongside a traveling circus. Glanton catches up with his ex-lover Romina (Eva Mendes). Later, Glanton discovers that he is the father of Romina’s baby boy.

In order to support his son, Glanton quits his job as a stuntman and settles for a day job at a local auto repair shop where he meets Robin Van Der Zee (Ben Mendelsohn). After not making nearly enough money as he had hoped to, he and Robin turn to robbing banks. After a few robberies, however, Glanton finds himself in a police chase after one particular bank robbery gone horribly wrong.

An unfortunate set of events soon happen as a collision course with police officer Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper) affects the two families’ lives for several years to come.

Beneath the surface of what appears to be a crime film, “The Place Beyond the Pines” is much more than what meets the eye. This dramatic, and at certain times, tear-inducing movie explores several themes, including fatherhood and fate.

Director Derek Cianfrance, known for his critically acclaimed film “Blue Valentine” (also starring Gosling), creates another masterpiece in “The Place Beyond the Pines.” The narrative may be unconventional, but the story grips the viewer even after transitioning into a completely new story arc halfway into the film.

Cianfrance’s gripping narrative is also bolstered by a strong cast. Cooper, fresh off his Oscar-nominated year, impresses with his portrayal of a police officer struggling with several personal, moral and familial issues throughout the course of the film.

However, the real star here is Gosling. He only appears in the first half of the film, but his onstage presence is truly gripping to watch.

Many viewers, understandably so, will be put off by the length. This feels like an epic, clocking in at 140 minutes. Some of the pacing is a little slow, but this doesn’t mar the greatness that this powerful narrative possesses. It’s a film that can only be truly appreciated after a thorough viewing and some thought.



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