The Place Beyond The Pines (2013) is a beautifully complex film written and directed by Derek Cianfrance. It’s told in triptych, meaning The Place Beyond The Pines is essentially three different films. The film covers the connection between two families (both from different social classes), whose paths cross over two generations in Schenectady, a town in New York . In The Place Beyond the Pines, the criminal, his deviant path and his eventual entanglement with the police, serve merely as catalysts from which the real focus of the film emerges . It brings attention to the relationships between fathers and sons and explores the roles that destiny, circumstance and chance can all play in a person’s life. Cianfrance used Post Modernism, Neorealism, descriptive and prescriptive models, and Freudian theories when he wrote The Place Beyond The Pines and it shows throughout the film.
The first act of The Place Beyond The Pines revolves around the story of Luke Glanton, played by Ryan Gosling. Luke is a motorcycle stunt driver for a traveling circus, but he gives it all up when he finds out he has a son named Jason. Jason is the son of Luke and Romina (Eva Mendes). Luke wants to be a part of his son’s life, but Romina has already found a new man. Since Luke gave up his job, he has no financial stability to provide for his son so he meets a man named Robin (Ben Mendelsohn) and they start robbing banks. Luke’s robbing days don’t last long and he is soon pursued and eventually gunned down by a rookie police officer named Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper). The two cross paths for mere seconds, and their worlds meet. This is the conclusion of the first act, and leads into the second act, which is focused on Avery Cross, but it’s surprising when an actor of Gosling’s caliber isn’t the protagonist for the duration of the film . However, that’s just one of the ways that Cianfrance keeps The Place Beyond the Pines from devolving into a standard cops and robbers film.
The second act shows Avery dealing with the guilt of killing a man, while simultaneously having to receive praise from his police department. Avery’s disillusionment regarding police work reaches its peak when he discovers a ring of corrupt cops in his division . Avery is very awkward as a police officer. His efforts to try and work his way up the ranks on his own fail, and the futility of fighting his pre-determined path lead him to change his life’s trajectory .
The third act revolves around the children of Luke and Avery. Jason (Dane DeHaan), Luke’s son, and AJ (Emory Cohen), Avery’s son, become friends at the local high school. Both sons are troubled teenagers, due to their father’s actions. Jason and AJ do drugs, they steal, and they ultimately get themselves in trouble. AJ almost dies, and Jason almost kills Avery and AJ. You can also see that this film deals with masculinity. Once you finally get to the third act, and now know all the main male characters of the film, the theme of...