The Place Beyond the Pines (2013) is Derek Cianfrance’s film after Blue Valentine (2010) where he also worked with Ryan Gosling as the lead. This crime and drama film depicts a touching story about a motorcycle stuntman, Luke (Ryan Gosling) who quits his job to be with his baby and lover, Romina (Eva Mendes). Though Romina already in a relationship with another man, that doesn’t discourage Luke to get her and his baby back.
The movie was starred with great cast; Bradley Cooper, Dane DeHaan, Eva Mendes, Ben Mendelsohn, and of course Ryan Gosling. It’s one great movie with an excellent direction and a pretty long storyline (tells two generations) raised issues of family, social classes differences and relationships. One of the best movie I saw this year yet. I loved the performances by father-and-son in the movie, Ryan Gosling and Dane DeHaan. It’s a drama filled with some life lessons, at least the ones that I get. The two points below contains spoiler, so please be careful on reading.
1. Don’t Assume, Be Fair. Ramona never told Luke about their baby after a year, because Luke’s job as a motorcycle stunt demand him to travel from city to city. Knowing that he had a baby, Luke quits his job and wants to settle down. Imagine if Ramona had told him from the start? It would be fair to Luke to know first. Now Ramona live with another man and Luke have a hard time to be a father he wish to be.
2. Same Blood, Tighter Bond. Even when Jason has his step father, it won’t be the same as with his own father. Looking at Luke’s face holding baby Jason and when Ramona is in his arms, for a moment it’s like a perfect little family.
3. There’s no shortcut to be rich, unless you rob a bank. Though Luke tries to earn money the right way, it’s still isn’t enough. Looking for a quick way to earn money, he began to reconsider his friend’s offer to rob a bank. Well, that’s one solution, but only lasts a while.
4. Easy Come, Easy Go. Successfully rob banks, Luke’s wish fulfilled. He buys toys and things for his baby. But still, his earnings and efforts seem not big enough to get Ramona and Jason. When he wants to rob a bank again, his friend refuses to help because it’s too risky to rob too soon. But he doesn’t want to listen, he forced things. What happens to Luke? Well let’s just say if you earn things too quickly without effort, most likely the earnings will go away easily.
5. Cops, thieves, everybody is basically a human. So Luke is not only a retired motorcycle stuntman, he also a thief, proven to be a robber. That’s just what society need to know. It’s easy to get him removed, but is it fair? Luke’s a human too, have his own responsibility for other people, especially for his baby. In the other hand, there’s cops checking Ramona’s house without any permit with reason to seek Luke’s stolen money. The money won’t be kept as evidence, but to be handed to Avery (Bradley Cooper) to spent. Again, cop is still a human. Like many people, when handed a large amount of money, who can’t be tempted?
6. Keep yourself out of trouble. Avery is a city hero, and as a ‘reward’ this junior cop is handed stolen money by his seniors. Avery tries to get it right by keeping the money safe. But apparently there’s a vicious cycle in his work group (this might be a sad fact in real life) that led him to spent the money. Avery faced a huge dilemma, but eventually he chose to get himself (and his workspace) clean.
7. Respected occupation won’t escape you from karma. People won’t expect people who work certain occupation to do harm things, but it could happen. They may be untouched by law, but that doesn’t mean the punishment won’t happen to them.
8. It’s not perfect, but it’s home. It’s 10 years later, Jason’s all grown up. He grew up with his stepfather, Kofi (Mahershala Ali) who raised him good. It’s not an ideal family, but it’s a good home.
(Points below contains spoiler)
9. What Goes around, Comes Around. The time comes, Jason knows his father and why he died. Avery now faced his karma for killing Luke, facing his kid’s anger and pointed gun. It’s just a matter of time, for anything you do will come back at you eventually.
10. One simple word, ‘Sorry’ when said sincerely could change anything. It’s not really clear what made Jason decide why he didn’t kill Avery. But what I chose to believe is because Avery said (shakily) his apology. Maybe that’s enough for Jason to move on. That’s a beautiful ending.
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Readers, any thoughts? What do you think about this movie? Do you love it more than Blue Valentine?