Saturday, December 28, 2013


Movie Name: Nebraska
Year of Release: 2013
Director: Alexander Payne
Stars: Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, Bob Odenkirk, Stacy Keach, Mary Louise Wilson, Rance Howard, Devin Ratray, Angela McEwan, Tim Driscoll, Elizabeth Moore
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7

"Nebraska" follows the story of Woody Grant and his son David, both of whom embark on a trip from Billings, Montana, to Lincoln, Nebraska to claim a sweepstakes prize of 1 million dollars. Woody, a chronic alcoholic with a heart of gold, whom their sons don't know very well, is desperately trying to leave something for his family as he sees his death looming, while his son David, mostly wants to find a way to connect with his father. Both David and Woody embark on this trip, visiting Woody's family in the process, unearthing some family history unknown to David.
Director Alexander Payne, has followed his award winning "The Descendants" with another interesting insight into the dynamics of a family. "Nebraska" delves deep into the lives of a Midwestern family, one where the dreams have long been buried by the triviality of every day life, and where a man who has numbed himself with alcohol all his life, finally decides to pursue a dream of his own, when he sees death looming. The film falls trap of certain elements that are almost taken from a Coen brothers film (which makes the film at a certain point feel almost cliche driven), but the humanity and insight that has always been present in Alexander Payne's films is always felt. Bruce Dern and Will Forte create characters that have a mix of melancholia and compassion, with a sadness in their eyes which makes them humane and not just regular archetypes. June Squibb for all her spark, ends up being the comic relief in an otherwise more one note type of performance. The cinematography from Phedon Papamichael is stunning while the score from Mark Orton tries to create the "Midwestern" vibe (a la "Fargo"), and becomes almost too intrusive in the story. A good film worth watching.