Alexander Payne, 2013, USA, 115′, Certificate: 15
Nominated for 6 Oscars, including Best Film, Director and Lead Actor for the incredible performance by Hollywood veteran Bruce Dern, Alexander Payne’s black & white indie masterpiece is at times bitterly cynical, incredibly moving and laugh-out-loud funny, following a determined elderly man’s desperate cross-state journey to claim a million-dollar sweepstakes marketing prize, in the company of his estranged son who tries to convince him that the prize is fake. It is one of those rare films where both film critics and the wider audiences agreed to love!
★ ★ ★ ★ “At 76, Dern finally gets to be the leading man he’s long deserved to be, filling “Nebraska’s” wide open spaces with a performance of subtlety, bittersweetness and surpassing emotional courage. And he’s created a character every bit as iconic as his painterly alter-ego, one who eloquently embodies the anxieties, thwarted aspirations and stubborn tenacity of a rural middle class facing inexorable decline. He’s made an “American Gothic” for 21st-century, post-recession America.” Ann Hornaday, www.washingtonpost.com
★ ★ ★ ★ “There’s no sex, no car chases, hardly any violence (one thoroughly deserved punch), barely any swearing (one four-letter word, made to count). No young and good-looking people either. And did I mention it’s in black and white? But Nebraska is an absolutely enchanting film, so funny, so touching, ringing true — for me right up there with the year’s best. It’s directed by Alexander Payne, who made About Schmidt, Sideways and The Descendants — an auteur, then, who specialises in older men who have lost their way and are trying to find out what still matters, what their families mean to them, and if there’s anything good to be salvaged.” David Sexton, www.standard.co.uk
★ ★ ★ ★ “Processed in grainy black and white (…) and owing a tonal debt to David Lynch’s sentimental road movie “The Straight Story”, Nebraska tunes its bittersweet “personal journey” riffs to the plaintive waltz of picked guitars and lyrical fiddles, played out against a backdrop of fading midwest towns and long, lonesome interstates.” Mark Kermode, www.theguardian.com