THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES
The Abridged Script
EXT. CARNIVAL - SCHENECTADY, NY - 1980'S
RYAN GOSLING works as a motorcycle stunt rider at a traveling carnival. He gets a visit from his old flame, EVA MENDES.
Oh, hey girl. I haven't seen you since we had sex about a year ago. Sorry I ditched you, but if I don't commit to being a motorcycle riding bad-ass, everyone might realize that I'm way too pretty of a man for this role in the first place.
That's okay. I just came by to tell you that you're the father of my three-month-old son! But, I also want to tell you that I don't really want you in his life. So to be honest, I'm not sure why I'm here at all.
Wait, I got you pregnant? That's weird, I didn't even hear the girls on Twitter having a meltdown recently.
Well, don't feel bad, we never would have worked out anyway. This movie only has time to flesh out lawless miscreants like you, so good people like me are pretty much ignored. I guess a story about decent, law-abiding citizens just trying to make their way in the world doesn't resonate with audiences anymore, right?
Nonsense! Of course they are... er... I mean... sorry, what were you saying? You weren't talking about breaking the law in some way, so I got kind of bored. But what I can tell you is, I'm totally in love with you again for some reason. Now let's meet that adorable little accident I helped create!
RYAN goes to EVA'S house and meets his son.
Is it weird that the baby looks exactly like his white father and bares no resemblance to his Hispanic mother?
Nope, not at all! Thanks Hollywood whitewashing!
In any case, I've had a good five minutes of thinking time, and I've decided to change my ways! So, my first step in becoming a responsible father is to quit my job and my only source of income!
You're not getting it, dude. I don't need you. You're not a very reliable guy. Plus, your carnie hands are too small to hold the baby anyway.
Dammit, Eva! Like you're mother of the year? I mean, who goes to a carnival and sleeps with the first guy with a face tattoo she sees?
Well, you may have a point, but still! You have no job, no home, and that platinum blond hair looks completely ridiculous on you.
Wait, I know! My second step in becoming a responsible parent is to rob a bank and give you lots of untaxed money!
Okay, clearly you've been inhaling too many hair bleach fumes. The only way this will ever work is if the audience becomes so intrigued with watching you try and attempt this, that they'll ultimately end up rooting for you. On the other hand, if you show up with bundles of cash, I'll probably sleep with you again.
RYAN talks to his friend, BEN MENDELSOHN.
Alright, I'll help you rob banks, but only if you make your voice all squeaky and squeally when you do it.
Roger that! And I'll need to remain incognito, so I'll have to cover up my stupid looking neck tattoos. And I'll also need something to hide my eyes, so I'll just wear my favorite green sunglasses!
Yes, because there's nothing more disguising than the bright, neon green sunglasses that you wear ALL THE TIME.
BEN and SQUEAKY RYAN successfully complete a couple of ARMED ROBBERIES together.
Then RYAN goes back to EVA'S house where she and her boyfriend, MAHERSHALA ALI live.
Look! I bought a crib with the thousands of dollars I stole! I'm such a good dad!
Dude, you can't just barge in like this! Now take your dirty money and get out of my house! Woah, I'm a pretty strong black character!
Yup! And here's your reward!
RYAN slugs MAHERSHALA in the face with a WRENCH.
What the fuck, man?! Why am I considered the antagonist and you're considered the hero? You're a fucking dickhole!
Woah. I just hit a guy who was only doing what any decent man would do in this situation. I really am the villain, aren't I? Maybe I should re-evaluate my life and find out what my priorities are.
Ha! Just kidding. I'll keep robbing banks.
RYAN SQUEAKS his way into another bank, but oddly enough, the bank's newly installed BULLET PROOF GLASS gets in the way of his robbery! The police are called and he speeds away on his motorcycle.
Rookie cop BRADLEY COOPER hears about it over the police radio.
Hmm, it seems the Squeaky Bandit is at it again! I'll keep an eye out, but it's very unlikely that I'd see hi- HOLY FUCK THERE HE IS!
BRADLEY pursues RYAN in a slightly nauseating, high speed bike chase! Then RYAN runs into a nearby house.
(on the phone)
Eva, even though I robbed another bank and broke into some innocent person's house at gunpoint, I just want to remind you that I'm still a really good guy.
(drawing his gun)
Freeze! Hands up!
Oh boy! Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper in the same scene! I'm sure this will be the most exciting part the movie, as two critically acclaimed actors playing two complex characters finally get to--
(falls out window)
Well that was unsatisfying.
Oh shit, I just killed the main character of the movie! I'd better take over the narrative from here.
EXT. SCHENECTADY - A WEEK LATER
BRADLEY becomes the town hero. But then, his crooked cop buddies, including RAY LIOTTA, force him to barge into EVA'S house and take the stolen money RYAN gave her.
Wow. This took a sharp left turn. Are we in the same movie?
... Never mind.
He talks to his dad, HARRIS YULIN.
I feel so guilty about killing Ryan because he has an infant son, like I do. I didn't want to go into Eva's house, but Ray's signature death scowl told me to!
Yeah, that face would make anyone shit their pants. But it seems that in order for you to stay the good guy, you're going to have to screw over your friends. I'd love to help, but it's the late '80s and I'm playing the judge who yells at Bill Murray and his pink slime. Later!
BRADLEY rats out his crooked cop buddies, and becomes the hero again!
And now I can provide a good life for my young son, as I start my new career as one of the most honest, do-gooders of all:
EXT. SCHENECTADY - 15 YEARS LATER
Bradley's teenage son, EMORY COHEN befriends EVA and RYAN'S teenage son, DANE DEHAAN.
It's okay Bradley, I'll take over the narrative from here. And yes, their son is still played by an all white actor, because Hollywood really did look for actors of mixed race but they just couldn't find any! Honestly, there are none!
Speakin' of all white... Yo, I'm Emory. Turnz out my pops neglected me mosta my lyfe, so I became a straight up gangsta. And somehow, I still make funna' da fact dat you gots a black stepfather. But anywayz, let'z chill l8ter. We can smoke weed, cop sum ecstasy, and I can spit atchu sum sick rhymes, nahmsayin?
Well, at least I'll be high when this happens.
The two of them hang out, but get busted by the cops. DANE gets arrested for buying drugs, and EMORY gets arrested for that HORRIBLE BLACCENT.
I want you to stop hanging out with Emory. He's bad for you. Plus, his rhymes are weak as hell.
Only if you tell me about my real dad! I need to know because I'm a TEEN and I'm ANGSTY!
Hmm, you're right. Maybe if I had just told you about your real dad in the first place, you wouldn't be so troubled. But again, what kind of boring ass movie would that make? Now go out and struggle with your angsty-ness!
DANE finds BEN MENDELSOHN.
Your dad was the best motorcyclist ever. I was the one who taught him how to rob banks, which ultimately lead to his death, but lets never mention that. Look! Here are the bright green sunglasses he wore while committing crimes!
Cool! And he rode motorcycles? I ride a bicycle. OMG, I'm so much like him!
Later, DANE makes out with some DRUNK GIRL at a party and finds out that it was EMORY'S father who shot RYAN.
Gee, that sucks. But why don't you wait until tomorrow when you're sober and you can figure out a proper way to handle this situation. For now, how about we go upstairs and hook up? You know, just have some fun!
I will do exactly the opposite of that! I've got to avenge the criminal father I've never met!
That's right, folks. I actually turn down the chance to get laid.
EXT. A LOCATION BEYOND THE OAKS
DANE holds BRADLEY at gunpoint.
Sorry, Bradley. Apparently I've gone from angsty teen to homicidal maniac. It seems to be the only role I'm ever offered, so I just go with it.
Here, take this old picture I found of you and your father. I've kept it all these years to remind me of how I killed him. Because everyone loves to be constantly reminded of their life's biggest regret.
Okay, fine, I won't kill you. But I will steal your wallet. And I'll send this picture to my mother, to give her some comfort before she realizes that I completely ditched her and ran away from home.
What a dick. You really are your father's son.
EXT. SOME REMOTE FARMHOUSE
DANE buys a motorcycle from some FARMER.
Now to start a new life! I'm still a minor, I dropped out of high school, and there's probably a few warrants out for my arrest. But luckily, Bradley's wallet had a few hundred dollars in it. That should last me a few years at least! Yep, things are sure looking up for me!
Wait, WHAT? That's the ending to this movie?
Yes, it's an introspective drama about fathers, the tough choices they make, and the effects they have on their children.
So I'm supposed to feel sympathy for a criminal who turned his son into a criminal? And by the way, have you ever ridden one of these before?
Well no, but my father did. And we all know that shit's hereditary.
DANE, having never touched a motorcycle before, INSTANTLY KNOWS HOW TO RIDE IT PERFECTLY.
DANE proceeds to abandon ALL RESPONSIBILITY, not to mention his LOVING FAMILY, and rides off to his presumably SHITTY DESTINY.