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Don’t expect action in ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’

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By Owen Bradbury Aranda

“The Place Beyond the Pines” tells a story of hardship, loss and above all, a story of legacy.
The film — although appearing in trailers and TV spots as an action movie — is in fact a generational drama, spanning the lives of fathers and sons.
It captures a freshness not commonly found in most of today’s movies, which tend to be nothing but adaptations and remakes.
Writer/director Derek Cianfrance manages to create a complete and original film balancing emotion, action and drama in a new way.
It presents an interesting idea following the lives of two fathers and their sons that over time, are intertwined by fate.
Starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes and Ray Liotta, “The Place Beyond the Pines,” not only presents a compelling concept and well-written script, but also features a star-studded cast.
Gosling plays a motorcycle stunt rider who turns to crime in an attempt to provide for his lover and infant son.
The actor again embodies his usual role as a strong, silent character, delivering few lines, yet setting up the film with his distinct presence.
Cooper plays a newly recruited cop filled with aspirations, who is flung into the reality and danger of being a police officer. Although associated with popular franchises such as “The Hangover” trilogy, Cooper proves his worth following his Oscar nomination for “Silver Linings Playbook,” with a stunning and captivating performance.
The film’s cast makes the story believable and allows the audience to establish a connection with both the characters and the story.
Overall, it presents a difficult notion in an original and convincing manner, but it is not without fault.
There are certain aspects of it that could have been made better. The movie’s 140-minute duration, as well as its unrealistic depiction of the passage of time, are some of the problems present, but the biggest let-down of all is the film’s misrepresentation as an action film.
As a viewer, one enters the theater expecting an action-packed thriller, much like the 2011 film “Drive,” (also featuring Ryan Gosling as a stunt junkie).
But when the film passes the 100-minute mark, one wonders where the plot is headed.
It is a good film and is certainly worth watching, but as a viewer, one should try to forget about the trailer and take in the feature with an open mind.