Film: The Place Beyond The Pines
"If you ride like lightning, you'll crash like thunder."The Place Beyond the Pines
is a 2013 crime drama directed by Derek Cianfrance
. Ryan Gosling
plays Luke Glanton, a motorcycle stunt driver in Upstate New York who gives up his carefree life on the state fair circuit after finding out that he fathered a child with a one-night-stand (Eva Mendes
). Unfortunately, the child's mother has moved on and started a new relationship, and Luke's desire to become a part of his child's life, and provide financially for him, leads to him embarking on a life of crime, robbing banks and escaping via his motorcycle.Unfortunately for him, a rookie police named Avery Cross (played by Bradley Cooper) shoots and kills Luke after Luke makes one last heist without his partner/mentor. The film then switches protagonists, as we follow Avery Cross as he struggles with the guilt of killing a fellow young father and the wholesale corruption of his local police department. Avery ultimately decides to burn his bridges with the department, exposing his corrupt colleagues and launching a new career for himself, as he becomes a prosecutor for the local DA's office.It's at this point that the film AGAIN switches protagonists as move ahead about 16 years, as the film now focuses upon Avery Cross and Luke Glanton's children. Avery has divorced his wife and shunned his son, in order to focus on his career, campaigning for Attorney General of New York. Unfortunately, his son AJ has begun to rebel and do drugs, forcing Avery's dad to take him in hopes that he can keep his son out of trouble. AJ befriends Jason, Luke's son who like his dad is a motorcyclist and deeply resentful of his mom and stepdad, who have kept Jason utterly clueless about his biological father's identity. When the truth about their fathers is revealed to Jason, Avery must save his son and stop Jason from self-destructing like his dad did.
This film provides examples of:
- Ambiguously Gay: Robin, toward Luke. It's not exactly clear if Robin is just lonely and needs a friend or if he's actually in love with Luke.
- Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : The two boys in the third chapter buy some ecstasy. They are arrested by a whole police squad the second they leave the dealer's house.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Luke speaks almost entirely in shrill obsceneties while robbing banks, showing that he's hardly a pro at this sort of thing.
- Dawson Casting: Emory Cohen (22) and Dane DeHaan (25) played 16 year old highschoolers.
- Dead Star Walking: Ryan Gosling
- Death Equals Redemption: Luke.
- Decoy Protagonist: Luke dies an hour into the film.
- Dirty Cop: Everyone on the force but Avery, who isn't exactly perfect either. Embodied most in Peter De Luca.
- Disney Villain Death: Luke.
- Disproportionate Retribution: AJ beating the hell out of Jason after latter confronts him at the house party.
- Double Meaning Title: The title refers to the translated meaning of Schenectady, the setting, as well as to a secluded spot in the forest of relevence to all three storylines.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Again, Luke. To a first time viewer unaware of the film's episodic structure, his death is remarkably early and abrupt.
- Good Is Not Nice: Avery is this.
- Halfway Plot Switch: More like Thirdway Plot Switch, and another at the 2/3rds mark.
- Hero Antagonist: Avery, in the final scene of Luke's chapter. After killing Luke, he steps in as the protagonist.
- Karma Houdini: Avery, who mostly gets away with shooting (and killing) Luke first.
- Knuckle Tattoos: Luke has H-A-N-D tattooed onto the knuckles of his right hand.
- Like Father, Like Son: Luke and Jason. Avery and his father. Less so with Avery and A.J.
- Mr. Fanservice: Gosling, shirtless in the opening scene.
- Never Trust a Trailer: The film's trailer hides the fact that Luke dies at the end of the first act, that Officer Avery does not show up until 30 minutes into the film, and the whole "three-act, three connected storylines" arc of the film.
- Odd Friendship: Luke and Robin. It later becomes something of a Villainous Friendship when they start robbing banks together.
- The Oner: The opening shot, which follows Luke from his trailer to the globe of death.
- Outlaw: Luke is even described as this.
- Retirony: Averted. Robin retires from bank robbing and gets away clean, while Luke decides to go solo, with no intention of stopping, and ends up dead.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Avery.
- Spiritual Sequel:
- The first act, to Drive: Both characters were stuntmen who used vehicles as part of their employment, both were taken in and given a job in a low paying mechanic job where they found them selves doing a crooked sideline to make extra cash, they were also pretty soft spoken but had an air of understated charisma, they both ended up in a precarious predicament due to their criminal activity as well as getting angry with their boss/friend.
- The second act is this in some ways to Narc.
- Dane DeHaan's character arc in the third act is somewhat similar to Chronicle.
- Tattooed Crook: Luke is covered in tattoos, most notably a creepy dagger dripping blood in the corner of his eye. His bank-robbing outfit is designed to cover up all of his distinguising tattoos.
- Villainous Breakdown: Luke, after he is rejected by Romina and his final bank robbery goes awry.
- Villain Protagonist: Luke himself is a motorcycle rider and subsequently, a bank robber who pull off bank heists alongside Robin. Though he is technically a Decoy Protagonist when he is killed off by Avery.
- You Killed My Father: Jason tries to kill Avery because of this, but decides to spare his life afterwards.