NEBRASKA Movie Review
There is a lot more going on here then you first glean from the first five minutes of this film, from the beginning of the film we see Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) trudging along a highway to Nebraska to collect €1,000,000.00 . He is collected by his youngest son David(Will Forte) who is worried for his fathers well-being. When David realizes he can’t persuade his father to abandon this hopeless endeavour he decides to take his father to Nebraska to collect his winnings. Along this journey David learns so much more about his father then he previously knew.
Nebraska is an unusual film, I wasn’t sure what I was sitting down to watch. Was it going to be an offbeat comedy in the style of a Wes Anderson film or was it going to be a wordy sophisticated piece of cinema like a Woody Allen film. I looked into Alexander Payne’s work and found films like About Schmidt, Sideways and The Descendants. All Payne’s films, all award winning films. I won’t try and pretend I have seen them but I know enough to know Alexander Payne is one hell of a director. With Nebraska you feel that Payne understands the nuance’s of family life, all the quirks, all the troubles and all the wonderful little moments littered in between. This is a real character driven film, centred around the Grant family, Woody, Kate and their sons Ross and David. Woody and David are a wonderful pair, each getting to shine through at various points of the film (Dern and Forte give great performances). Not a true comedy this film is more a drama/comedy hybrid. The situation is far too real and the characters too organic to allow for any kind of absurdity.
Aside from some great performances from the main cast the film feels flat. Stacy Keach plays the usual kind of villain in this kind of film, the old “friend” who opens up old wounds. It’s a fine role but I was interested at all, the supporting cast at times were at odds with the main cast, bringing down the quality of the film. It’s not completely like this across the board as there are some wonderful moments throughout the film when David learns something new about his father. There is a wonderful little love story sub-plot thrown in midway through the film that feels organic and I would have liked to seen that explored more. If there is one complaint I had it would be that the film ran a little long.
With strong performances from Bruce Dern and Will Forte this film is one to watch,even if the film does dip at points.