The Place Beyond the Pines

Rated 2.0

A carnival motorcycle stunt rider (Ryan Gosling) returns to a small town to see an old flame (Eva Mendes) and learns that he got her pregnant on the last trip; he impulsively settles down and in time, turns to robbing banks to support the son he didn't know he had—which puts him on a collision course with a rookie cop (Bradley Cooper). Writer-director Derek Cianfrance has a good cast (Ray Liotta, Rose Byrne and Harris Yulin are there, too), and they do their best. Good moments here and there—especially from Cooper and Liotta—contend with an unfocused and scattershot script that undercuts the actors too often. Cianfrance's story supposedly spans 15 years, but everybody looks the same after all that time except that Gosling and Cooper's infant sons have grown into teenagers (Dane DeHaan, Emory Cohen).