'The Place beyond the Pines' fails to impress

What lengths would you go to for your family? This is the dilemma that Ryan Gosling’s character Luke Glanton faces in director Derek Cianfrance’s latest film, ‘The Place Beyond The Pines.’ Also starring Eva Mendes and Bradley Cooper, this film explores how the consequences of wrongdoing can travel through generations.

‘Pines’ is quite an ambitious film when it comes to its structure. It has three acts that are quite blatantly separated to focus on different characters.

This is something I really wish I knew before walking into the film, as I had no real gage as to when the film would end. The result is a jarring separation between storylines that makes the audience feel as if they had just watched two different movies back to back.

Glanton is the focus of the first act, a motorcycle stuntman who learns he has a year-old son and begins to rob banks in order to provide for him and his ex-lover (Mendes). When his paths cross with officer Avery Cross (Cooper), everyone’s lives change significantly.

The third act fast-forwards 15 years into the future for the final half hour of the film, where we see how previous actions have affected those involved.

We can easily predict the ending of the film from this point onward; unfortunately however, the plot drags on and we’re forced to sit and wait for the ending we already know is coming.

At a painful 140 minute runtime, there is much more exposition than necessary. Bradley Cooper’s absence from the first half of the movie is quite distracting, as is the cheesy dialogue that only seems to include plot devices and nothing else.

There seem to be too many stars in this low-budget $15 million film, mixed in with actors we’ve never seen before. Many of the performances are either overacted or under-acted, characters are inconsistent in their actions, and the plot goes out of its way to achieve unrealistic situations.

While I wanted to like the film, I kept finding myself shaking my head at the deliberateness of every plot point.

Story aside, the film features some fantastic experimental cinematography by Sean Bobbitt, who also worked on the impressive 2011 film Shame.

Bobbitt captures beautiful shots that the dismal dialogue unfortunately cannot equal. Ultimately, these numerous sins make the film merely worth a rental.