Movie Talk

Ryan Gosling gets rough, tattooed and Bradley Cooper’s goat in ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’ trailer

Photo: Focus Features

Last year fans protested when Bradley Cooper was named People magazine’s sexiest man alive, feeling that Ryan Gosling deserved the honor more. Now the two are facing off on the big screen.

"The Place Beyond the Pines," which debuted earlier this year at the Toronto International Film Festival, features Gosling as Luke, an ex-con who appears to be a much more rough-edged version of Gosling's "Drive" character, sporting scowls and more than a few tattoos as he struggles to find a way to support the baby he never knew he had. A man's got to put his skills to work if he wants to make a living, and this guy's good at riding motorcycles and committing robberies -- guess which might be the most effective in starting a college fund for the little tyke? Check out the trailer below:

Luke's shenanigans crosses paths with Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper, all clean-shaven and law-abiding), a recently recruited police officer who ends up on his own rocky road when he gets mixed up with interdepartmental corruption, seemingly spearheaded by his older colleague, Deluca (Ray Liotta, bringing his usual steel-eyed intensity).

[Related: TIFF Talk: ‘Seven Psychopaths,’ ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’ & ‘Berberian Sound Studio’]

This dark fable comes from writer-director Derek Cianfrance, the filmmaker who brought us the emotionally devastating doomed romance, "Blue Valentine." "The Place Beyond the Pines" marks the second collaboration between Cianfrance and Gosling, and it doesn't look like they've cheered up any for their sophomore effort.

However this morality tale turns out (though we assume the guilty will be punished and the non-guilty left unhappy regardless), there's no denying that very few actors can make a rocky journey into the depths of the human soul as compelling as Ryan Gosling. The guy just smolders on screen, and even more so when he's covered in ink and looking even more ridiculously ripped than usual. It's not all about the physical extremities with Gosling, though -- his naturally sad, soulful eyes make you truly feel for the guy, through every hard call, bad mistake and infuriating injustice.

[Related: Indie Roundup: ‘Amour’]

Why didn't Focus Features find a place for this movie during the current holiday season? The searing and unforgiving human drama on display would fit right in with the likes of "Zero Dark Thirty" and "The Impossible." Plus, who wouldn't want to ring in the New Year with Gosling and Cooper, even if their party is a bit of a bummer?

"The Place Beyond the Pines" opens March 29, 2013.