10 Movies That Shockingly Switch Protagonist

9. The Place Beyond The Pines

1917 Protagonists Switched
Focus Features

It can be a serious shocker when a film marketed as a run-of-the-mill Oscar-bait drama takes some bold and ambitious narrative turns, but that is precisely what happened with Derek Cianfrance's Place Beyond the Pines.

Carnie motorbike stunt rider Luke (Ryan Gosling) botches a robbery and is shot dead around the midpoint, at which point the narrative is taken up by Avery (Bradley Cooper), the police officer who shot him.

Packing in not one but two major star leads, Place Beyond the Pines wrangles a challenging narrative that transitions from crime thriller into something more akin to a kitchen sink drama. Avery tries to make amends with Luke's widow and ultimately faces a reckoning some 15 years later when he comes face to face with Luke's son.

Audiences may have been uncertain about it at the time, but the film manages a difficult and moving story without ringing the melodrama bells, using its unusual form to tell a story not of cops and robbers but of the trials and mistakes of being a father. And, hey, he may not be in it for that long, but Ryan Gosling kills with bleached hair and stick n poke tatts.

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