"Forgiveness for the Sins of the Father"
What You Need To Know:
THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES is a powerful and epic-sized, but intimate, drama about the effects the sins of two fathers have on their sons. Luke is an uneducated motorcycle stuntman in a traveling carnival, who discovers he has a son. He wants to drop his career and help raise his son, but doesn’t have the skills to make a normal living. A friend convinces Luke to be the getaway driver in some bank robberies. Luke winds up getting shot dead after a botched escape attempt, but the policeman’s mistake during the shooting is covered up. Fifteen years later, the two men’s teenage sons are affected in negative ways by the sins of their fathers.
THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES has a powerful redemptive ending. The acting, directing, music, script, and cinematography are superb. The movie shows forgiveness and mercy overcoming hate. At the same time, it maintains an intense, nail-biting tension almost to the very end. However, THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES has lots of strong foul language, brief sexual innuendo, and references to teenage substance abuse. So, extreme caution is advised.
(BB, C, Ro, LLL, VV, S, N, AA, DD, MM) Strong moral worldview with biblical, redemptive premise or themes where mercy and forgiveness overcome revenge and hate but with some Romantic, lawless behavior, some of which has bad consequences later on; at least 70 obscenities (including many “f” words) and profanities; strong violence largely centers on some bank robberies where a criminal terrifies innocent bystanders by pointing his gun at them, intensely reckless vehicular chases in which the criminal recklessly rides his motorcycle to escape police and endangers numerous other drivers, a brief exchange of gunshots results in the police killing the robber, who falls out a window and winds up bleeding to death in a pool of blood, and teenager threatens to shoot the former policeman who killed his father; light sexual references includes implied fornication with couple shown lying in bed afterwards and movie reveals man had impregnated a woman in an unseen one night stand the year before, but she didn’t tell him about the child, although when he finds out he wants to be with her and his son; upper male nudity; alcohol use and abuse, include teenage use; smoking, teenage drug use during a party scene, and one teenage boy pressures his friend to break into a pharmacy and steal prescription drugs for his illicit use and distribution; and, revenge but overcome, theft, bank robbery, stealing prescription drugs, and police cover up a mistake.
THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES is a powerful, epic-sized yet intimate drama about the impact and influence both a bank robber and the policeman who kills him have on their sons. THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES has a moral, redemptive ending extolling mercy and forgiveness, but there’s a lot of strong foul language, teenage substance abuse and an implied bedroom affair.
Ryan Gosling plays Luke, an uneducated motorcycle stuntman in a traveling carnival. Luke runs into Romina, a former one-night stand who had a child by him without his knowledge. He wants to drop his career and help raise his son, Jason, but doesn’t have the skills to make a normal living.
Tragically, a friend convinces Luke to be the getaway driver in a series of bank robberies. The friend thinks Luke’s superior driving skills and amazing speed will elude cops easily. However, when Luke’s partner decides to stop robbing, Luke makes one more ill-advised holdup and winds up getting shot dead after a botched escape attempt.
Avery, the policeman who killed Luke, accidentally shot first when he saw Luke’s gun. He now lives with the guilt of killing a man improperly and leaving the man’s son fatherless. Avery’s supervisors help him cover up his error, and he eventually becomes a charismatic district attorney. Everything seems right with the world until 15 years later when his teenage son, AJ’s, best friend, just happens to be Luke’s teenage son, Jason. Things go more wrong when both boys learn the secrets of how Avery shot and killed Luke.
It is here that THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES achieves a form of cinematic and storytelling greatness. [SPOILER ALERT] The storyline shows Jason heading for ruthless revenge on Avery and AJ, but the movie ends on a powerful note of forgiveness and mercy in a final confrontation. The story could easily have followed a path of anger and violence, but instead shows forgiveness and compassion overcoming hate. At the same time, the movie maintains an intense, nail-biting tension almost to the very end.
All the actors in THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES offer performances that may be career bests, rising to the occasion of an excellent screenplay. The cinematography by Sean Bobbitt lushly depicts the haunted loneliness of the setting in the woods of upstate New York. Combined with Mike Patton’s striking score, all this creates a unique feel for the movie that’s rooted in reality yet feels slightly surreal.
It’s striking to see how far filmmaker Cianfrance has grown, both as an artist and in his moral messages, in the space of a two-movie career. His first movie, BLUE VALENTINE, was one of the ugliest movies, as it depicted a doomed marriage’s ugly downfall. However, PINES is one of the most uplifting because it aims viewers toward the light and away from some very dark moments. In fact, in an interview with MOVIEGUIDE®, he said that the moral themes inserted into the movie originate from the Bible.
That said, THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES contains a gratuitous amount of strong foul language, brief sexual innuendo, and references to teenage substance abuse. So, extreme caution is advised.