A motorcycle stunt rider (Ryan Gosling) discovers that the woman he loved and left a year earlier (Eva Mendes) has given birth to a son by him, and his half-baked decision to become a better father ends tragically. This naturalistic drama is ambitious to the point of being unwieldy, and after a while it begins trotting out familiar characters (Ray Liotta as a dirty cop) and situations (an execution in the woods, a la Miller's Crossing). But once the story has advanced from one generation to the next and its thematic sweep has become apparent, these flaws seem much more tolerable. Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine) directed a script he cowrote with Ben Coccio, whose stunning debut feature, Zero Day (2003), deserves a much wider audience.
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Producer: Jamie Patricof, Lynette Howell, Alex Orlovsky, Sidney Kimmel, Jim Tauber, Matt Berenson and Bruce Toll
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne, Ben Mendelsohn, Mahershala Ali, Dane DeHaan, Emory Cohen, Ray Liotta, Bruce Greenwood, Harris Yulin, Gabe Fazio and Olga Merediz
The Place Beyond the Pines