After watching The Place Beyond The Pines, I thought I watched two films. It may be because the movie clocks in at 140 minutes, but also because of how the narrative went.
There are two main parts in this movie (at least that's how I saw it): The one with Ryan Gosling's character Luke as the central focus, the other half belonging to Bradley Cooper's Avery. Without spoiling the story, the two parts intersect in the middle where Luke, a motorcycle stuntman who thought crime was the only way out of his situation, encounters the policeman Avery. That intersection is the emotional high of the movie.
The mood of the film is subdued, never rising to a boiling intensity. For an action-drama film, this one has definitely more dramatic moments, than action sequences. The theme of continuity and "what goes around, comes around" wraps up the the two halves nicely.
Watch The Place Beyond The Pines with an expectation that its a dramatic journey (a long one at that) and you'll be fine.