Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper give career-making performances in Derek Cianfrance’s family drama, an expansive (140-minute) meditation on fate disguised as a cops ‘n’ robbers actioner. A motorcycle stunt rider-turned-bank robber (Gosling) runs up against a police patrolman (Cooper), and their chance encounter smears its dirt on everyone they know, including the bank robber’s wife (Eva Mendes), his son (Dane DeHaan), the officer’s son (Emory Cohen), and a station house full of corrupt cops led by Ray Liotta, in suitably nasty form. Cianfrance, who directed Gosling in Blue Valentine
, finds better use for his two male leads than they’ve enjoyed before — credit that to the screenplay Cianfrance wrote with Ben Coccio and Darius Marder — and the story does not lag as it shifts to a second generation. Further standout character work by Ben Mendelsohn, Rose Byrne, Robert Clohessy, and Mahershala Ali. Justifies its ambitions. (140 min.)
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The dad zone.