Tuesday, 11 March 2014
Nebraska is an engaging road movie, and a tender and affectionate father-son tale. Except for the rather stretched and maudlin ending, for most parts Payne succeeded in maintaining a delicate balance between whimsical nature and light humour, on one hand, and sentimentality on the other; traces of Jim Jarmusch were often discernible in this low-key and likeable, albeit slight, serio-comedy. Woody Grant (Bruce Dern), an ageing and retired Montana resident with a fast failing mind, is convinced that he’s won a $1 million lottery and is hell-bent in going to Nebraska, by foot if required, to collect the sum. His sons, however, immediately realize upon reading the letter that it’s nothing more than a sham. But, with Woody impossible to be reasoned with, his younger son David (Will Forte) decides to pamper his unreasonable wish – if not for anything else, just to spend some time with him. Thus, he takes leave from the store he works in, and embarks of the journey. There, they’re joined by Kate (June Squibb), Woody’s cantankerous but loving wife, and Ross (Bob Odenkirk), his well-established elder son, and have a dubious family reunion too. Getting to know of his windfall, his relatives and former acquaintances try to establish shares of their own, thus opening old wounds. And, through all this, David finally gets to know his father. Dern gave a startling and deeply affecting turn as the seemingly gruff, laconic and self-centered man but with a soft soul, while Squibb provided some ribald fun – particularly in the darkly hilarious scene at the graveyard. The B/W photography beautifully captured America’s vast open spaces and road network, and was nicely accompanied by the lilting score.
Director: Alexander Payne
Genre: Drama/Family Comedy/Road Movie