He just believes what people tell him; a review of Nebraska (2013)


I can’t think of anything witty to open this review with. I should “Nebraska” professional for some help!

Nebraska (2013) is about a booze-addled father, played by Bruce Dern, who goes on a road trip with his son, played by Will Forte, from Montanta to Nebraska because the father is under the impression he has won a million-dollar sweepstakes. The film is directed by Alexander Payne, who also directed Sideways (2004) and The Descendants (2011)

The movie was shot in black and white to give it an, “Archetypal look,” according to Payne. If you ask me, that’s the most egotistical thing I’ve ever heard. Yeah, the movie looked just fine in black and white and the images popped the way they were supposed to. But the difference between a black and white movie like this and one like Citizen Kane (1941) or Casablanca (1942) is it took a lot more skill, using real black and white film, and really taking lighting into account; where it should be placed, how bright, how far, etc. Nebraska was shot on a digital Arri Alexa camera. Lighting is not nearly as vast an obstacle with this digital age upon us; and for all we know, it was probably just switched to black and white with the click of a button in post production.

Bruce Dern has been getting a lot of recognition for his performance in the movie, as Woody Grant. Honestly, it’s just sad to watch him. He’s an elderly man losing touch with himself and the people around him. The way he carries himself and reacts to the people and his environment makes you feel sorry for this character. Now if that was the point of his role, then I guess well done. I just didn’t react to his performance the way I did to someone like Joaquin Phoenix or Leonardo DiCaprio. Hell, even Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Also, I felt like Dern wasn’t even the protagonist in the movie, he seemed more like an obstacle for Will Forte, who had all the qualities of a protagonist. To me, it was more about the son’s relationship with his father as opposed to the father’s relationship with his son… If that makes any sense. It does to me. Forte did a good job in his role as David Grant; but nothing to rave about.


Overall, I’d say Nebraska was a bit of a let down for me. It didn’t really send a message to audiences and seemed like a, “Slice of life,” more than an actual story about the sins of our fathers. I will say I did enjoy Bob Odenkirk in this movie as Forte’s brother, Ross.

Overall Rating: 5.5/10 – Meh

Pointless story, didn’t make me feel anything at all. I only hope that my father and I don’t have the relationship that Dern and Forte have… I’m not worried though, my dad’s pretty cool.


IMAGES: http://www.2flashgames.com/mp/2013_Nebraska/movieposter.jpg, http://www.rochestercitynewspaper.com/imager/will-forte-and-bruce-dern-in-nebraska/b/original/2313905/bd46/movies3-1.jpg


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