30 November 2013 4:05 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

The American Midwest's spare, glum beauty is conjured in Alexander Payne's lugubrious road comedy

At the start of Nebraska, Woody Grant (Bruce Dern), confused and old, is seen slouching doggedly along a highway on the outskirts of his town. "Hey, bud, where ya headed?" asks a solicitous cop. But where can Woody possibly be headed? It takes just one look at the nondescript urban expanse; at the chimney belching out fumes in the background; at the sign reading "Billings City Limits" (that's Billings, Montana) to know he can't be going anywhere special. This is the back of beyond, right? And Woody's surely on the proverbial Road to Nowhere.

In fact, Woody is determined to get to Lincoln, Nebraska, where he's convinced that a million dollars are his for the claiming. It's usual in American cinema to assume that areas such as the stretch between Billings and Lincoln, some 800 miles away, »

- Jonathan Romney

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