Derek Cianfrance -- director of critically acclaimed "Blue Valentine" (2010) -- wields a multi-generational morality tale with the film "The Place Beyond the Pines" (2012). He offers a microscopic look at the dangerous, dysfunctional fathers and sons. The narrative unfolds in three separate but interrelated stories. Each story is told in a straightforward manner, not demanding the viewer to piece together a cinematic jigsaw puzzle, like in the films of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. There is something honest in each chronicle, even though the acts are substantially weaker than the one it precedes.
Luke Glanton (Ryan Gosling) is covered in tattoos, including his cheek that shows a dagger dripping blood. He is a reticent motorcycle stunt rider (called as 'Handsome Luke') in a traveling carnival. His shows stops in Schenectady, N.Y., after meeting a woman named Romina (Eva Mendes), a waitress. She had known him previous summer and shows up mysteriously, looking for something she isn’t sure is there. Soon, Luke learns that he had fathered a child last time he was there with Romina. She lives with a boyfriend, but still has feelings for Luke, and so Luke quits the carnival, deciding to get to know his child, Jason better.