Ryan Gosling knocked another performance out of the park. Bradley Cooper picked it up right where he left off. Yet the film's choice to go for a Shakespearean tragedy of a third act... (spoilers ahead)
... was simply not where I wanted the story to go. Sure, fast forwarding 15 years made a few things very clear, specifically Ryan Gosling's neon glasses and Eva Mendes Mom jeans, but in doing so we moved away from some amazing performances in favor of brand new characters. There's still a great weight to seeing the offspring of the main characters carry on living without full knowledge of their fathers' respective sins, but there was a lot more drama that I would have preferred to see from Bradley Cooper's character. After all, he had just turned state's witness against his fellow policeman. His life was surely on the line in doing so and that six month period would have made for a hell of a movie.
Still, it's beautifully shot and impeccably acted, which I expected from the director of Blue Valentine. While it's long, it's an engrossing experience and great in the theater. Give it a shot.