A fas­ci­nat­ing trip­tych with the man of the moment

The Church of England - - ENGLAND ON SUNDAY -

The Place Be­yond the Pines ( cert. 15) con­firms Ryan Gosling’s place as moody man of the moment. Put him on a mo­tor­bike and it’s James Dean re­di­vivus.

It is in ef­fect three sto­ries - writer-di­rec­tor Derek Cian­france calls it a trip­tych. Luke Glan­ton (Gosling) is a stunt bike rider turn­ing to crime, Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper) is the po­lice­man who ends his ca­reer then gets in­volved in po­lice corr up­tion, and the fi­nal chap­ter shows us how sins of the fa­thers can be vis­ited on sons.

Luke rides the Ball of Death fair­ground show, and the an­nual sched­ule takes him back to the city of Sch­enec­tady, NY, and to Rom­ina (Eva Men­des), now with his 3-mon­thold child Ja­son but liv­ing with Kofi (Ma­her­shala Ali), who’s tr ying to be a dad to Ja­son. Luke quits the show to be near Rom­ina and his son, but needs a job to sup­port them as he prom­ises.

Robin (Ben Men­del­sohn) runs a car re­pair shop out of town and of­fers Luke work and a trailer to stay in, but also has ex­pe­ri­ence of sup­ple­ment­ing in­come by the oc­ca­sional bank rob­bery. Luke, with what Robin calls his “skill set”, takes to this new line eas­ily, but, against Robin’s ad­vice, takes a gun.

It’s not the bank rob­beries that land him in jail, but an as­sault on Kofi as he in­ter­venes too much in Rom­ina’s domestic ar­range­ments. Robin bails him out, but an­other rob­bery goes wrong, lead­ing to a shoot-out with a cop who surely should have waited for backup.

The film then turns on whether that cop, Avery, in­jured in the in­ci­dent, can get back to work. His su­pe­ri­ors want to know what hap­pened, his wife Jen­nifer (Rose Byrne) strug­gles with his at­ti­tude, and his col­leagues in­volve him in a scam that com­pounds his un­ease.

His fa­ther (Har­ris Yulin), a re­tired judge, even­tu­ally pro- poses a way out of his dilemma, which works quite well, and gets him off the force and into ju­di­cial of­fice. It still seems a fraught course for Avery then to try and build a po­lit­i­cal ca­reer on his sta­tus as hero and whistle­blower.

Fif­teen years later, he’s run­ning for state at­tor­ney-gen­eral, but now he’s sep­a­rated from Jen­nifer and their son AJ (Emory Co­hen). AJ’s teenage re­bel­lion brings him back into his fa­ther’s life – more than his fa­ther wants at this stage of the cam­paign.

Luke’s son Ja­son (Dane DeHaan) is the same age, and still won­der­ing about what hap­pened to his fa­ther. When he finds out, it makes for a dra­matic end­ing, but one that leaves plenty of loose ends.

Gosling – well tat­tooed, in­clud­ing a Bi­ble on the back of one hand – gives a sim­mer­ing per­for­mance, while Coop- er’s cop turned politi­cian man­ages not to evoke much sym­pa­thy. The bank rob­beries come across as au­then­tic – Cian­france had talked to per­pe­tra­tors and vic­tims, and in one scene or­di­nary cus­tomers and tell­ers play them­selves – but the real men­ace comes from Ray Liotta as one of Avery’s older col­leagues.

The ti­tle de­rives from the Mo­hawk ori­gin of Sch­enec­tady, where the film is set and was largely shot. Mike Pat­ton’s orig­i­nal mu­sic is of­ten haunt­ing, adding to the sense of im­pend­ing doom of a story that may seem con­trived, and long (2 hours 20 min­utes), but is a fas­ci­nat­ing con­struc­tion, com­plete with el­e­ments of Greek tragedy - and a cou­ple of good road chases.

Steve Par­ish

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.