Whilst Derek Cianfrance undeniably captivates your attention for the 140 minute running time, the film fails to meet its potential by focusing too much on the moody mystique surrounding Ryan Gosling; who proves to be more a nightmare than Hollywood ‘dreamboat’ . This drama, split into three acts, focuses upon the intertwining lives of men from very different backgrounds trying to provide for their family and gain respectability. This all comes crashing down in an exhilarating shooting, sending their or their families lives spiralling out of control. Whilst the first act impresses aesthetically, with beautiful backdrops, signifying a contemporary sense of freedom comparable to that of Easy Rider; the characters are somewhat lacklustre and at times unbelievable, in a film that is ultimately very human. However, this is more than recovered when we follow Bradley Cooper’s ‘squeaky-clean’ police officer turned politician, whose pain and guilt is relatable and lends a sense of realism and depth to his character. However, Cooper’s acting does seem to carry the film and whilst there are moments of brilliance from others; such as Dane Dehaan’s climactic breakdown, the rest of the cast fail to deliver. Therefore whilst the film does provide some outstanding aesthetic moments and performances, the indulgence of the director in prolonging the moody tone in an attempt to be on-trend spoils the consistency of what could have been a masterpiece.