hey girl, why don’t you see my new movie?

by rebecca willa davis

All you need to know about The Place Beyond the Pines is that it's the new Ryan Gosling movie.

OK, just kidding--but let's be honest, it's all anyone will be talking about with this film. Between his face tattoo, bike stunts, and impending pseudo-retirement, there are plenty of ways to hey-girl this new film from director Derek Cianfrance (of Blue Valentine fame). And yes, Gosling gets everything he can out of this performance, providing the high-speed heart and soul to the film and providing a character who we root for regardless of the stupid decisions he makes.

But he's not the whole movie; in fact, The Place Beyond the Pines (out nationwide today) is very much a triptych, where Gosling is the starting point before passing the baton on. It follows the tangled lives of motorcycle stunt performer Luke (played by Gosling)--who travels from town to town before daydreaming of settling down with onetime lover Romina (Eva Mendes) and becoming determined to make fast money to help support her--rookie cop Avery (Bradley Cooper), and the way that the two men's momentary meeting fundamentally alters everything that comes after.

It's a story about the meaning of right and wrong, the things we trade for leading a better life, and the ties that bind generations--specifically fathers and sons. In other words, it's like Crash meets the The Lion King, only beautifully shot and with a haunting soundtrack that connects each of the three parts together.

Cooper is proving himself a truly leading man, while Gosling will have you wishing that he'd stick around onscreen for just a bit longer. Though you see the ending a mile (or, should we say, 30 minutes) away, there's enough gripping action to keep you on the edge of your seat. And not all heartthrobs can say that.