"The Believer" explores a Jewish student's private journey to understand the meaning of Judaism in his life. Set in New York City, the Plot follows a morally confused young adult struggling with the conflict between his beliefs and his heritage. "The Believer" examines themes of religion, family, and self-loathing. It is a psychological examination into the forces of intolerance, both on the individual and society as a whole. Written by
Critically acclaimed, grand-jury prize winner at Sundance Festival in January 2001, then appeared on Showtime pay-cable in March 2002, before finally being released theatrically in NYC, May 2002. See more »
In the final synagogue segment, while the congregation is singing "Aveenu Malchenu," they keep changing keys from shot to shot, up a half-step and down a half-step and back up again again, indicating a string of takes edited together. See more »
Just take a look at the last three most well-known Jews - Marx, Freud, and Einstein. What have they given us? Communism, infantile sexuality, and the atom bomb.
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Like "Romper Stomper" and the intensely powerful "American History X," here we have another brilliant film which revolves around National Socialism and the fiercely racist ideals behind it. This movie, however, varies strongly from the two previously mentioned in that it seems to have been researched far more heavily, and, focuses on not a general Neo-Nazi or skinhead, but on a young Jewish manwho has turned to Neo-Nazis and fascism for strength.
This film revolves around a young man who was born and raised into Judaism only to become heavily fed up with the styles, rules, rituals, and apparent hypocrisies therein. Ever since his youth he'd been questioning the Jewish faith and the very meaning of being Jewish. The film follows him as he struggles with the faith he was raised with and the Nazi ideals he adopts against it. Through it all, he also struggles with his own identity and the hypnotic way that these two opposing ideologies have power over people. On top of that, he's later recruited by a group of neo-fascists, so to speak, looking to make fascism a reputable political movement, much like Communism has evolved into Democratic societies these days as Socialism.
Here's the breakdown:
--The acting, for the most part is excellent.
--The amount of information about both Nazism and Judaism is staggeringly well researched. At least, that's how it seems.
--Nice cinematography and atmosphere.
Didn't Hurt It, Didn't Help:
--This film focuses very little time on "Neo-Nazis versus everybody;" it's more about Nazism and Judaism butting heads.
--Often times with movies of this nature, Nazi Movies, there is strong violence used in part to hammer home the intensity of the subject matter. This film focuses on the ideologies more than the violence and as such, actually doesn't feel as powerful as, say, "American History X."
--During flashback sequences where we see the main character in his youth in school, the kid playing the part isn't exactly a great actor.
--Somewhat predictable ending.
--With the ideologies, stories, and charactersthere's an awful lot going on in this film. Unfortunately, when the movie ends, if feels like there was a lot left unanswered, or simply, not fully explored.
--There were actually quite a few. For me, it was the first several times we get to know the girl who becomes the main character's love interestand all the ways it seems she's just not right in the head.
Acting: 8/10 Story: 9/10 Atmosphere: 7/10 Cinematography: 8/10 Character Development: 9/10 Special Effects/Make-up: 0/10 (Movie didn't require any) Nudity/Sexuality: 3/10 Violence/Gore: 6/10 (Not as much violence as is common in films of this type) Dialogue: 9/10 (Some brilliant conversations and ideas throughout) Music: 7/10 Direction: 8/10
Cheesiness: 1/10 Crappiness: 0/10
Be prepared to stomach a lot of harsh words and racism, but this is an intense film with a lot going on. Another one recommended to those with an interest in National Socialism, Judaism and their histories and ideologies. Full-fledged Nazis, ironically, will not like many of the directions this movie takes, and neither might serious Jewsthe views expressed in this film are that strong. My final rating comes from the overall intelligence and strength of the film, despite is drawbacks.
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