“The Place Beyond the Pines”: Father/Son Bonding

The Globe of Death is a carnival attraction in which daredevils ride motorcycles along the inside of a spherical cage, defying gravity through a combination of centrifugal force and chutzpah. It's how we're introduced to the character of Luke (Ryan Gosling) in Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance's The Place Beyond the Pines: zooming along the inside of a Globe, somehow never hitting the other two riders in the tiny cage. The problem is that the hyper-masculine and thoroughly dickish Luke does metaphorically collide with other people in the world outside the cage, his bad decisions and general stupidity impacting the lives of his baby-mama (Eva Mendes), her husband (Mahershala Ali), a rookie cop named Avery (Bradley Cooper) whose Serpico-esque ethics can't overcome his political ambitions, and eventually both Luke's and Avery's sons (Dane DeHaan and Emory Cohen). The spooky Mike Patton score contributes to the Lynchian ambience lent by the wooded upstate New York locations, and both Gosling and Cooper lend plenty of hunkiness to this meditation on the ways fathers can screw up their sons. Striving for the scope of a novel, The Place Beyond the Pines is too long-winded for its own good, though it includes enough car chases and bang-bang action that fathers and sons shouldn't get bored.

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