Another Place and Time
The Place Beyond The Pines - 2013
Directed by Derek Cianfrance
see link for writing team
The first thing to understand about The Place Beyond The Pines is that most descriptions fail to explain it adequately. From what I'd read, I expected some kind of protracted game of cat and mouse between Ryan Gosling's motorcycle-stunt-rider-turned-bank-robber and Bradley Cooper's ambitious-but-stalwart-cop-in-a-corrupt-department. Sort of like a, say... Vanishing Point versus Copland or Heat meets The Departed... 'cept, you know, with motorcycles.
Well, it's not that. At least not the way you think it is.
This leads to a fateful encounter with Bradley Cooper as Avery, a rookie cop with a law degree and big plans for the future. The second act is his, as the fallout from the encounter brings him the kind of notoriety that could help to fulfill those ambitions, but also involves him with the inner circle of corrupt good-ol'-cops. His intermittent conscience leads him into conflict with the cops, but for the time, ambition has all the answers.
Each act is very different; not merely in perspective but in tone and momentum, but they do add up to a really impressive and satisfying arc. It's an action crime flick, then a cop drama and finally a coming of age movie. The film doesn't judge the characters or even really push the story very hard. All the events flow naturally from a single choice. It's an engaging consideration of the way that choices echo through time, giving particular attention (intentional or not) to self-defeating behaviors. Luke and Avery are both haunted by their fathers in their own choices, which gets passed on to their own sons.