Ryan Gosling is a sight in “The Place Beyond the Pines,” and not for the usual reasons. His hair’s cropped short and dyed platinum blond. Awkward, hand-scratched tattoos crawl along his chest and up his neck; you wonder what will happen when they reach his brain. The actor’s steady stare has a desperate edge to it, as though the Driver from “Drive” had misplaced his Zen.
Gosling’s character, a fairground stunt-cyclist named Luke, anchors the first third of “Pines,” the new feature from “Blue Valentine” director Derek Cianfrance. That 2010 drama about the dissolution of a marriage announced an up-and-coming filmmaker’s talent for getting under the skins of inarticulate characters, using a cinematic style of bruised colors, brooding soundtrack choices, and restless camera moves. It was an ambitious film that, at its intermittent best, felt entirely organic and real.