The Place Beyond the Pines

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The Place Beyond the Pines
The Place Beyond the Pines Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDerek Cianfrance
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Derek Cianfrance
  • Ben Coccio
Music byMike Patton
CinematographySean Bobbitt
Edited by
  • Jim Helton
  • Ron Patane
Distributed byFocus Features
Release date
  • September 7, 2012 (2012-09-07) (TIFF)
  • March 29, 2013 (2013-03-29) (United States)
Running time
140 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$15 million[2][3]
Box office$47 million[2]

The Place Beyond the Pines is a 2012 American neo-noir crime drama film directed by Derek Cianfrance, and written by Cianfrance, Ben Coccio, and Darius Marder. The film tells three linear stories: Luke (Ryan Gosling), a motorcycle stunt rider who supports his family through a life of crime, Avery (Bradley Cooper), an ambitious policeman who confronts his corrupt police department, and lastly, two troubled teenagers (Emory Cohen and Dane DeHaan) who explore the aftermath of Luke and Avery, fifteen years later. The supporting cast includes Eva Mendes, with Ben Mendelsohn, Rose Byrne, Mahershala Ali, Bruce Greenwood, Harris Yulin, and Ray Liotta.

Cianfrance was inspired to write the film based on his experiences as a father. His co-writers Coccio and Marder, who shared similar interests in film and media as him, helped write the story. Cianfrance envisioned the main themes to be about fathers and sons, masculine identity and legacy. The film reunites Cianfrance and Gosling, who had previously worked together in 2010's Blue Valentine. The role of Luke was written for Gosling, as he expressed an interest in playing a bank robber. Filming took place in Schenectady, New York during summer of 2011.

The film premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, followed by a United States theatrical release on March 29, 2013. Focus Features purchased the distribution rights after being impressed by the film screening. It received a generally positive response from critics and moderate success at the box office. The soundtrack was composed by Mike Patton and included music by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt and Ennio Morrocone.


In 1997, Luke Glanton is a traveling motorcycle stuntman with a carnival. In Schenectady, Luke reunites with his ex-lover Romina Gutierrez, who is now dating another man named Kofi Kancam. Luke discovers that Romina has a baby named Jason whom he accidentally fathered the previous year, but Romina never revealed to him. Luke quits the carnival tour to stay in Schenectady with Romina and their son.

Luke begins working part-time for auto mechanic Robin Van Der Hook. He asks Robin for more work, but Robin cannot offer it legitimately. Robin then reveals his past as a bank robber, and suggests they should commit several robberies together. Luke accepts the offer. They successfully commit several heists; Luke robs the bank at gunpoint, uses his motorcycle to getaway, and quickly rides it into a inconspicuous box truck, driven by Robin.

Luke uses his share of the stolen money to get closer to Romina and Jason. Later, Luke lets himself into Romina and Kofi's house, and attempts to assemble a crib for Jason. Kofi demands that Luke leaves, but Luke strikes him with a wench. He is arrested and Robin bails him out of jail; Luke explains that he wants to give his money to Romina for Jason's future. Desperate and angry, Luke insists on resuming their robberies, but Robin objects. The pair fall out, and Robin dismantles Luke’s motorcycle. Luke then robs Robin, and uses the money to buy a new bike.

Luke attempts to rob a bank alone, but it does not go according to plan. He is quickly pursued by police. He makes his way to the top-floor of someone's home, and phones Romina, and asks her not to tell Jason about him. A rookie police officer, Avery Cross, enters the room, and impulsively shoots Luke in the stomach. Luke fires back, hitting Avery in the leg, but Luke falls out of the window to his death.

Avery, a married man with a wife and baby son, is hailed as a hero after the incident. He feels remorseful, leading him to tell amenable police investigators that Luke shot first. A group of veteran, corrupt officers coerce Avery to join them in illegally seizing the stolen bank money from Romina's home. Later, Avery tries to return it to Romina who rejects it. Avery then attempts to hand the money over to the corrupt chief of police, who rebuffs him. Discouraged and fearful of lethal retaliation from the corrupt police department, Avery secretly records other illegal practices in the department, and uses this recording as leverage with the district attorney to obtain a coveted position as an assistant district attorney.

Fifteen years later, Avery is running for Attorney General of New York. His son A.J. is a rebel teenager and a drug user, who has been living with Avery's ex-wife. A.J. moves in with his father, and transfers to Schenectady High School. A.J. befriends the now-teenage Jason, but neither know the history between their fathers. The pair are later arrested for felony drug possession, but when Avery picks up his son from the police station, he recognizes Jason's name. He gets Jason's charge dropped to a misdemeanor and orders A.J. to stay away from him.

Kofi tells Jason his father's name, allowing Jason to discover Luke's past on the internet. Jason visits Robin, who tells him more about Luke, and their robberies. In school, A.J. pressures Jason to steal Oxycontin for a party. At the party, Jason discovers that A.J.'s father, Avery, is the man who killed his father, Luke. After a violent confrontation with A.J., Jason is hospitalized, and buys a gun shortly after being released. He goes to the Cross family home, assaults A.J., and takes Avery as hostage. Jason forces him to drive into the woods, where Avery breaks down and apologizes. Jason leaves him unharmed but takes his wallet. Inside it, Jason finds a photo of him and his parents, which Avery had stolen from the evidence locker.

Some time later, Avery wins his bid for New York Attorney General, with A.J. at his side. Romina receives an envelope addressed to "Mom", with the old photograph inside. Jason purchases a motorcycle and rides away from his old life.




Derek Cianfrance's inspiration for the story first started when he saw Abel Gance's 1927 silent film Napoleon, which uses a triptych (three-screen) technique to play out an once. In 2007, the birth of Cianfrance's second son reignited the idea, and he started to think about being a father again and the responsibilities involved. "That got me to thinking about the fire I felt inside me, which had been with me for as long as I could remember. It helped me to do many things. But it was also, many times, a destructive and painful force", he said.[4] He stated it was important for him, as an artist, to do something personal and challenging.[5] He also read the works of Jack London, including the novel The Call of the Wild, and became intrigued with the idea of legacy and what our ancestors had to do for survival.[4][5] Shortly, Cianfrance met Ben Coccio, who shared a similar interest of books and films as him, and began writing the screenplay. The third screenwriter, Darius Marder, joined the project four months before principal photography began.[4]

Meanwhile, Cianfrance was still working on the film Blue Valentine (2010), which stars Ryan Gosling. In 2007, Gosling told him about a fantasy which involved "robbing a bank, on a motorcycle, and then making a very specific getaway."[4][6] Cianfrance told Gosling, "You've got to be kidding me, I'm writing that movie right now." The pair shared numerous identical ideas, and knew that The Place Beyond the Pines would be another opportunity to work together again.[4][5] Cianfrance envisioned the story to be about fathers and sons, masculine identity, "reinvention or transformation of the self for a man over a period".[4] He added, "It's about legacy—what we're born with and what we pass on. It's about the choices we make and how those choices echo throughout generations. It's a classic tale of the sins of the father being visited upon the son".[4][5]

While Cianfrance is not a fan of violence in film, he was drawn to displaying the narrative of it and "how a gun could come in" and affect peoples' lives.[5] The first draft of the script ran over 160 pages, which required much refinements from the three writers. Once filming began, they had produced 37 versions of the script.[7] Coccio came up with the title of The Place Beyond the Pines, which is the Iroquoios translation of the city Schenectady—"the place beyond the pines". The city is where Coccio spent his childhood and Cianfrance frequently visits.[7] The writers sent the final script to Sidney Kimmel Entertainment; they financed the film and gave the director and crew "a lot of trust, space and time".[7][8]


While the role of Luke Glanton was made for Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper was offered the role of Avery Cross, due to his same type of charisma as Gosling, and both bring a "different energy" to the screen. Cooper was hesitant signing on for the role, but Cianfrance adapted the script for Cooper, and told him that he will not make the film without him.[6] Cianfrance considered a number of actresses for the role of Romina Gutierrez, but he wanted to cast Eva Mendes from the beginning. "She has such a magnetic screen presence [...] I saw the deep, thoughtful, warm, generous, unpredictable person inside Eva", he said.[4]

The role of Peter Deluca was written for Ray Liotta, who starred in one of Cianfrance's favorite films, Goodfellas (1995).[9] Over 500 boys auditioned for the roles of Jason Glanton and A. J. Cross, with Dane DeHaan and Emory Cohen being selected, respectively. Cianfrance recalls that in the boys' first audition together, their discussion about favorite actors produced a "conflict", and he thought this chemistry would translate well on screen.[4]


Principal photography began in summer 2011, lasted for 47 days and took place in Schenectady, New York. Filming locations included real places, including banks, police stations, a hospital, high school and state fair. Cianfrance said it was important real places were used for "sense of place and truth".[4] While filming in these places, the extras were also real: bank tellers, police officers, hospital patients and staff, and students. Some of the cast, including Cooper and Ray Liotta, spent time with real police officers in Schenectady to learn about their roles.[7] The production went smoothly except for when Hurricane Irene struck the city which flooded the equipment trucks. The crew took a canoe to the truck and rescued the film footage that was left behind, and continued filming the next day.[4]

Cianfrance considered the cast to be collaborators, and encouraged them to improvise some of their dialogue to make it "alive" and "true".[4] Remarking on his directing style, he said "I’m not a dictator on set, I don’t force my actors to do things. I allow a democracy of ideas on set".[6] He also demanded utmost commitment from the cast and crew, despite them not staying in luxury hotels or big trailers, and filming in places with bee hives and mosquito infestations.[4] Gosling learned to ride a motorcycle for filming the action scenes, and trained with stuntman Rick Miller for six hours a day for two months. Gosling performed many stunts; in one robbery scene, he had to ride in heavy traffic whilst being pursued by police, which required 22 takes to perfect.[10][9] He also gained 40-pounds (18 kg) of muscle and worked with designer Ben Shields to design tattoos for his character's body.[6]

Sean Bobbitt served as cinematographer, who preferred using handheld cameras and natural lighting. Cianfrance saw Bobbitt's experience as a war photographer as an advantage, and was impressed with his process and sense of composition, which proved useful for a scene in the beginning which featured a tracking shot towards the globe of death.[4][11] Bobbitt initially stood inside the globe to capture footage of the motorcyclists, but a bike hit his head and he suffered a concussion. The director did not allow him inside again.[12] Editing proved to be a challenge due to the amount of story to explore, and the rough cut of the film ran in excess of three hours.[7] Cianfrance's close friends, Jim Helton and Ron Patane, served as editors which made the experience "bearable".[7] The final cut of the film took nine months, seven days a week and sixteen hours a day, to complete.[4]


The Place Beyond the Pines: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedMay 7, 2013
GenreSoundtrack, classical

The score for The Place Beyond the Pines was composed by Mike Patton, who, according to Cianfrance, "understood the haunted qualities of the story". Cianfrance had been a fan of Patton's work since the early 1990s and described his work as "cinematic".[4] The soundtrack album also features a selection of music by various artists including Arvo Pärt, Bon Iver, Ennio Morricone, and Vladimir Ivanoff.[13] The album was released by Sony's Milan Records on May 7, 2013.[14]

The Place Beyond the Pines: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
1."Schenectady"Mike Patton2:43
2."Family Trees"Mike Patton2:03
3."Bromance"Mike Patton4:04
4."Forest of Conscience"Mike Patton3:22
5."Beyond the Pines"Mike Patton1:20
6."Evergreen"Mike Patton2:16
7."Misremembering"Mike Patton3:54
8."Sonday"Mike Patton2:25
9."Coniferae"Mike Patton1:16
10."Eclipse of the Sun"Mike Patton1:53
11."The Snow Angel"Mike Patton1:45
12."Handsome Luke"Mike Patton4:13
13."Please Stay"Mike Patton ft. The Cryin' Shames3:16
14."Miserere Mei"Vladimir Ivanoff5:29
15."Fratres, For Strings and Percussion"Arvo Pärt10:18
16."Ninna Nanna per Adulteri"Ennio Morricone3:07
17."The Wolves, Acts I & II"Mike Patton ft. Bon Iver5:22
Total length:56.06


Box office[edit]

The Place Beyond the Pines premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2012. Shortly, Focus Features announced their decision to acquire the distribution rights from Sidney Kimmel Entertainment.[8] Focus CEO James Schamus and president Andrew Karpen said, "Derek Cianfrance has made a bold, epic, and emotionally generous saga, once again showing a master’s hand in eliciting searingly beautiful performances from the actors with whom he collaborates."[8] It received a limited release in the United States on March 29, 2013, followed by a wide release on April 12, 2013.[15] The film earned $21.4 million in North America and $25.6 million internationally for a total of $47 million, against its $15 million production budget.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 78% based on 222 reviews, with an average score of 7.24/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Ambitious to a fault, The Place Beyond the Pines finds writer/director Derek Cianfrance reaching for—and often grasping—thorny themes of family, fatherhood, and fate."[16] The film also has a score of 68 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 42 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[17]

Writing for the Indiewire "Playlist" blog, Kevin Jagernauth praised the film as an "ambitious epic that is cut from some of the same thematic tissue as Cianfrance's previous film, but expands the scope into a wondrously widescreen tale of fathers, sons and the legacy of sins that are passed down through the generations".[18] The Daily Telegraph critic, Robbie Collin, drew attention to the film's "lower-key and largely un-starry third act" that was criticized in early reviews. "In fact, it’s the key to deciphering the entire film," he wrote. Collin drew parallels between Gosling's character and James Dean's Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause (1955), and said Cianfrance's film was "great American cinema of the type we keep worrying we’ve already lost."[19] Toronto Star's Peter Howell gave the film a positive review, writing "The Place Beyond the Pines flirts with exhaustion and threatens credulity with its extreme generational conflicts and use of coincidence. Cianfrance and his sterling cast keep it all together [...] There’s a palpable sense of teamwork that brings out the best in all of these players."[20] Claudia Puig of USA Today complimented the film for its "insightful study of masculinity", visual style and engaging look at a multi-generational saga. Puig opined that it was one of 2013's boldest films.[21]

Writing for Los Angeles Times, Betsy Sharkey described the film as "intimate" and praised the actors performances despite a bulky script.[22] In his review for Chicago Tribune, Michael Phillips gave the film 3½ out of 4 stars; he thought the transition between the three stories gave the film humanistic quality. "The people in it really do seem like people, not pieces of plot", he wrote. However, he was critical of the last third of the film, which felt long, but credited the cinematography, music and editing for keeping the "momentum flowing subtly".[23] David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter praised the acting, cinematography, atmosphere, and score, but criticized the film's narrative flow.[24] Henry Barnes of The Guardian gave a mixed review, writing: "The Place Beyond the Pines is ambitious and epic, perhaps to a fault. It's a long, slow watch in the final act, a detour into the next generation that sees the sons of Luke and Avery pick away at their daddy issues together. Cianfrance signposts the ripple effects of crime with giant motorway billboards, then pootles along, following a storyline that drops off Mendes and Byrne before winding on to its obvious conclusion."[25] Slant Magazine's Ed Gonzalez gave the film a negative review, and criticized the film's plot, themes, "self-importance", shallow characters, and melodramatic nature.[26]

Top ten lists[edit]


Organization Award Recipient(s) Result Ref
Australian Film Critics Association Awards Best International Film (English Language) The Place Beyond the Pines Nominated [28]
Dublin Film Critics' Circle Awards Best Director Derek Cianfrance Nominated [29]
Best Screenplay Ben Coccio, Darius Marder and Derek Cianfrance Nominated
Best Cinematography Sean Bobbitt Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actor Ryan Gosling Nominated [30]
National Board of Review Top Ten Independent Films The Place Beyond the Pines Won [31]
Saturn Awards Best Thriller Film The Place Beyond the Pines Nominated [32]
Golden Trailer Awards Best Independent Trailer The Place Beyond the Pines Nominated [33]
Best Independent Poster Nominated [34]
Most Original Poster Nominated


  1. ^ "The Place Beyond the Pines". Australian Classification. Department of Communications and the Arts. March 14, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2017. Duration: 140 minutes
  2. ^ a b c "The Place Beyond the Pines (2013)". Box Office Mojo.
  3. ^ Fleming, Jr., Mike (January 10, 2012). "Indie Film Producers Lynette Howell And Jamie Patricof Launch Electric City Banner". Deadline. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "The Place Beyond the Pines - Movie Production". Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e Osenlund, R. Kurt (March 28, 2013). "Interview: Derek Cianfrance on The Place Beyond the Pines, Ryan Gosling, and More". Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d Thompson, Anne (August 16, 2013). "Q & A: Director Cianfrance Talks 'The Place Beyond the Pines,' Gosling and Cooper, Long Takes and 'Psycho'". IndieWire. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Levy, Emanuel (March 31, 2013). "Place Beyond the Pines: Interview With Director Derek Cianfrance | Emanuel Levy". EmanuelLevy. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  8. ^ a b c Jr, Mike Fleming (September 9, 2012). "TOLDJA! Focus Features Lands 'The Place Beyond The Pines'". Deadline. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  9. ^ a b McKnight, Ren (March 29, 2013). "The Place Beyond the Pines Director and Writer Derek Cianfrance on Ryan Gosling's Magical Abilities, the Menace of Ray Liotta, and Trying Not to Kill the Most Lusted-After Man in the World". GQ. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  10. ^ Lim, Dennis (March 22, 2013). "Myth Making on Motorcycles". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  11. ^ "Getting to The Place Beyond the Pines". Focus Features. January 29, 2013. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  12. ^ Davis, Edward (April 2, 2013). "Derek Cianfrance Convinced Bradley Cooper Not To Drop Out Of 'Place Beyond The Pines'; His DP Nearly Died On Set & More". IndieWire. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  13. ^ "The Place Beyond The Pines - original music by Mike Patton". Milan Records. Retrieved June 11, 2020.
  14. ^ "The Place Beyond the Pines [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] - Mike Patton | Release Info". AllMusic. Retrieved June 11, 2020.
  15. ^ Chitwood, Adam (October 16, 2012). "The Place Beyond the Pines, Starring Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper, Set for Limited Release on March 29, 2013". Collider. Retrieved October 17, 2012.
  16. ^ "The Place Beyond the Pines". Rotten Tomatoes (Flixster). Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  17. ^ "The Place Beyond The Pines Reviews". Metacritic (CBS Interactive). Retrieved March 18, 2013.
  18. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (September 7, 2012). "TIFF Review: 'The Place Beyond The Pines' A Searing Tale Of Fathers, Sons & The Legacy Of Sins". The Playlist. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
  19. ^ Collin, Robbie (April 11, 2013). "The Place Beyond the Pines, review". The Daily Telegraph.
  20. ^ Howell, Peter (April 11, 2013). "The Place Beyond the Pines a tautly tangled tale: review". Toronto Star. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  21. ^ Puig, Claudia (March 29, 2013). "'The Place Beyond the Pines' has evergreen appeal". USA Today. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  22. ^ Sharkey, Betsy (March 28, 2013). "Review: In 'The Place Beyond the Pines,' society is the bad guy". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  23. ^ Phillips, Michael. "A 'Place Beyond the Pines' where two actors shine ★★★ 1/2". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  24. ^ Rooney, David. "The Place Beyond the Pines: Toronto Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
  25. ^ Barnes, Henry (September 8, 2012). "The Place Beyond the Pines – review". The Guardian. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
  26. ^ Gonzalez, Ed (March 15, 2013). "The Place Beyond The Pines". Slant Magazine. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "2013 Film Critic Top Ten Lists| Film". Metacritic. December 8, 2013. Retrieved February 14, 2015.
  28. ^ "Nominations announced for the 2014 Australian Film Critics Association Awards". IF Magazine. February 10, 2014. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  29. ^ Clarke, Donald (December 18, 2013). "The Dublin Film Critics Circle plumps for Gravity | Screenwriter". Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  30. ^ Academy, International Press. "The International Press Academy Announces Nominations For The 18th Annual Satellite Awards™". Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  31. ^ "National Board of Review Announces 2013 Award Winners". National Board of Review. December 4, 2013. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  32. ^ Goldberg, Matt (February 26, 2014). "Saturn Award Nominations Announced; Gravity and The Hobbitt: The Desolation of Smaug Lead with 8 Nominations Each". Collider. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  33. ^ Team, The Deadline; Team, The Deadline (May 5, 2013). "Disney, 'Iron Man 3' Dominate 2013 Golden Trailer Awards". Deadline. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  34. ^ Wolfe, Jennifer (May 7, 2014). "Golden Trailer Award Nominees Announced". Animation World Network. Retrieved June 16, 2020.

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External links[edit]