"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
"Nebraska" offers viewers an unstinting view of some very unpleasant things: extreme decrepitude, boundless stupidity, greed and ignorance. There is also very deep, and very painful, love on display in this portrait of an embittered working class eking out a meaningless existence in a dysfunctional and remote place. "Nebraska" oscillates between cynicism and schmaltz, pulling off a wondrous kind of emotional alchemy that few films aspire to, let alone attain.
All of the acting is first rate, though the characterizations are rather broadly drawn. Will Forte plays a dutiful, sensitive, repressed son with seemingly unlimited patience for the eccentricities of those around him. He's the perfect foil for Bruce Dern's semi-catatonic, alcoholic ramblings (both verbal and spatial). June Squibb serves up hilarious venom to spice up the mix.
There were scenes in the movie that so perfectly captured the narrow, soulless, deadening ethos so prevalent in small-town America that I could hardly stand to watch them. It was almost as if the tire stores, bars, gas stations and motels of every desolate corner of America were rolled up into one set of visuals here, captured in stunning black and white cinematography.
I highly recommend "Nebraska."
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