"NEBRASKA" is a father and son road trip, from Billings, Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska that gets waylaid at a small town in central Nebraska, where the father grew up and has scores to settle. Told with deadpan humor and a unique visual style, it's ultimately the story of a son trying to get through to a father he doesn't understand. Written by
Alexander Payne's first experience shooting in black and white, with digital cameras and anamorphic lenses. Paramount initially balked at Payne's choice to shoot in black and white, but relented when previews yielded positive feedback to the cinematography. See more »
The Subaru Outback driven by David has the gas tank on the passenger side. The scene when his father disappears to get a beer shows David filling up the tank on the driver side. See more »
Slow and low-key but describes its characters with wit
I saw the movie at the Helsinki International Film Festival. It tells a story about an old man who is certain that he has won a million dollars and wants to get to Nebraska to collect it. His family is sure that it is a hoax but his son chooses to drive him there so that the thing wouldn't bother his dad anymore.
Everything about the movie is very low key and the pacing is quite slow. This comes from the choice of shooting it in black and white, style of acting, and the locations and events depicted in the film. For long periods, I found it a little hard to get immersed into the events on the screen and empathize with the characters. I kept thinking that the movie repeats what I did not like about Alexander Payne's earlier work About Schmidt. But then somehow the movie started to grow on me. I still feel there is almost weird resemblance to the road trip and family reunion Jack Nicholson's character goes through in About Schmidt but Nebraska has merits of its own. For one, the characters are quite well written. Even the supporting roles provide witty observations of different ways we might react to other person's fortune. Also, the acting is very good throughout the film. The main characters' lives have become unsatisfying and they are trying to deal with it in different ways. Even though it is a little frustrating to watch people who struggle to find anything meaningful to do or say, the script and the actors are able to draw a very accurate picture of everyday life as it sometimes can be. Here and there, they are able to provide a few laughs and even some satisfaction when the characters are developing, albeit slowly.
Overall, I'd end up recommending the film if you have enjoyed Alexander Payne's previous work.
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