First Hit: A good job of attempting to create a film about a very difficult idea and concept.
How much of our behavior comes from watching and being around our parents and what role does genetics play?
This has always been a difficult question to solve/resolve in science and how would a film address this? This is a film about what fate might be, about loss and about what drives a man to do certain things.
Ryan Gosling (as Luke) is a daredevil motorcycle rider. He unknowing father's a son with Eva Mendez (as Romina) and upon the discovery of this, turns to a life of crime to give his son the things he never got from a father he never knew.
This part of the film is exquisitely done. Enter Bradley Cooper (Avery) a cop which his father, a judge, thinks is a poor life/job choice. In a shootout he kills Luke. He learns that Luke has a 1 year old son just like him. 15 years later A.J. (Avery’s son) meets up with Jason (Luke’s son) and unknowingly of their father’s history, become friends.
However, they get into trouble and Avery realizes that the boy his son is hanging out with is the son of the man he killed. The story continues to develop from here as the sons begin to learn about their father’s earlier interaction.
There are aspects of this story that bring out the character of Avery, A.J. and Jason which are well done.
Gosling is amazing. The scene where he sits in church during his son’s baptizing, I realized, again, how good he can be. Mendez is great and perfect for the role. Cooper is very strong and can be believed as both the cop and Attorney General. Ben Mendelsohn as Robin a friend of Gosling's was fantastic. His character added depth to Gosling's role as well. Dane DeHann as Jason was very strong and carried through a believable Luke’s son. Emory Cohen as AJ was very good as well and brought enough darkness to make his angst believable. Ray Liotta was amazing at being able to make me dislike his crooked cop character in just 2 minutes. Ben Coccio co-wrote with Derek Cianfrance who also directed this very challenging and interesting film.
Overall: This film can stay with you long after you leave the theater.