My Review of The Place Beyond the Pines

21 May

May 21, 2013

WHAT IS The Place Beyond the Pines?
WHERE IS The Place Beyond the Pines?

NO ONE will be admitted after the film has begun to protect the MYSTERY OF The Place Beyond the Pines!



Wow, not only did they know how to make movies back in the 50’s, they knew how to sell them too. William Castle would be proud.

Unfortunately, the film I saw had no mystery or suspense, other than when would it end? I am warning you upfront; the film is nearly 2 and a half hours long, which is at least 45 minutes way, way too much. It also has at least three false endings, points at which you are sure the movie is ending, praying the movie is ending, and doomed to be disappointed because the movie just plods on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… and on and on and on etc etc snooze snore.

The film stars Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendez, and Bradley Cooper. You really need to write this down- Bradley Cooper is in this film. Write it down so you won’t forget it like I did. Honesty, Bradley Cooper does not show up until about an hour into the film, right at false ending number one.

Normally, right around this point, after a couple of spoilers- like Ryan Gosling’s character dies, and Bradley Cooper is the one that kills him- I’d warn you that this review might contain spoilers and leave it up to you to continue. But not this time. If you are considering seeing The Place Beyond the Pines and you don’t see it because I have spoiled it for you, then I have done my job.

Ryan Gosling plays a circus performer named Handsome Luke (his team is The Heartthrobs) and he has way more, and way worse, tattoos than a guy named “Handsome” would reasonably be expected to have. He is covered with some of the worst ink seen on the screen since some of those racist World War Two cartoons. His eye appears to be weeping a knife.

He rides a motorcycle inside a metal globe with his team, not a stable career to be sure. One night Eva Mendes, whom the film intentionally has wear tight tops without a bra, shows up and says “Remember me?”


Gosling says “yeah.”

He then gives her a ride home without either of them saying a word.

Long story short. And I do mean long, about a year ago the two of them hooked and hope, unknown to Handsome But Not Too Sharp Luke, she had his baby. At this point I am compelled to tell you that Luke owns exactly two t-shirts. One is filthy sleeveless Metallica shirt, the other is a disgusting white t-shirt full of more holes than Luke has brain cells. Compounding the problem is that Luke insists on wearing it inside out. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.


Anyway, to save time, since there is A WHOLE LOT MORE to go, I am going to bullet some of the main points at this junction of the film.

  • Luke wants to be a family with Eva and Baby Handsome Luke
  • Eva wants no part of him
  • Eva is not the name of Eva Mendes’ character but it is a lot easier for me this way
  • Eva is shacking up with a new guy, who is black. I mention this only because it will become a teensy tiny plot point about sixteen hours from now.
  • Handsome Luke quits his job at the circus, determined to earn money and win back his family

That last point is noble and touching and completely undermined when he says “screw this, let’s rob banks instead.”

Handsome Luke becomes the moto-bandit and robs banks, getting away on his motorcycle. It all goes pretty well until he can’t make a getaway and a police officer chases him on foot into someone’s house.

“Hey, isn’t that cop Bradley Cooper? Yeah, I was starting to think he wasn’t in this film at all.” Turns out that yes, Bradley cooper is in the film and yes, as I said before (so this is not a spoiler) he shoots and kills Handsome Luke.

End of movie


Because now the movie is about Bradley Cooper, ROOKIE HERO COP, parlaying his fame into becoming the NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL.

Yes, really. No, seriously, I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP!

Bullet point time.

  • Unbeknownst to all but the audience, Bradley Cooper shot Handsome Luke first, not in self-defense as he claims. Don’t worry, this has ZERO to do with the rest of the film.
  • He becomes involved with crooked cops.
  • One of the crooked cops is played by Ray Liotta, making late career resurgence by playing a crooked cop or a gangster in three movies out or about to come out soon.
  • Cooper makes a ton of enemies by turning on his fellow cops and blackmailing the DA into giving him a job. Don’t worry, this has ZERO to do with the rest of the film.
  • Cooper becomes a hero and crime fighting District Attorney.

The screen fades to black.

Happy ending, good came from bad, I can get up and get out of the theater.


Because the film, which had faded to black, faded back in with “15 years later.”


The film is now about Bradley Cooper’s total a-hole son, who is about as stupid as your average pizza pie but less interesting to see onscreen. As you might imagine, if you are still awake in the theater, the kid hooks up with Baby Handsome Luke, now all grown up and pretty much a jerk himself.


Long (see? Told you this was a long one) story short, Baby Huey Handsome finds out who Pizza Boy’s father is and tries to kill both father and son, but doesn’t, and then buys a motorcycle and rides off into the sunset.

The end.

For real.

Want some bullet points?

Please don’t make me.

And the point of it all?

I have no idea.

And never was a single word said about pines. 


4 Responses to “My Review of The Place Beyond the Pines”

  1. T E Stazyk May 21, 2013 at 12:09 am #

    Thanks for the warning!


    • bmj2k May 21, 2013 at 12:16 am #

      The film got great reviews online from critics and regular folks, but I have yet to speak to one who liked it. I don’t get it.


  2. CMrok93 May 23, 2013 at 2:12 am #

    The cast is great, but the story really lets them down, especially by the last act. Good review.


  3. conordcfc May 29, 2013 at 8:03 am #

    Good review, although I wasn’t the biggest fan of this film, it was well shot for sure! Check out my review if you get the time 🙂


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