7.2/10
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158 user 88 critic

The Believer (2001)

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2:14 | Trailer

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A young Jewish man develops a fiercely anti-Semitic philosophy. Based on the factual story of a K.K.K. member in the 1960s who was revealed to be Jewish by a New York Times reporter.

Director:

Henry Bean

Writers:

Henry Bean (screenplay), Henry Bean (story) | 1 more credit »
6 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ryan Gosling ... Danny Balint
Peter Meadows Peter Meadows ... Orthodox Student
Garret Dillahunt ... Billings
Kris Eivers Kris Eivers ... Carleton
Joel Marsh Garland ... O.L. (as Joel Garland)
Billy Zane ... Curtis Zampf
Theresa Russell ... Lina Moebius
Summer Phoenix ... Carla Moebius
Jack Drummond Jack Drummond ... Old Coot
Sig Libowitz ... Rav Zingesser
James McCaffrey James McCaffrey ... Young Avi (as James G. McCaffrey)
Jacob Green Jacob Green ... Young Danny
Frank Winters Frank Winters ... Young Stuart
Ronald Guttman ... Danny's Father
Heather Goldenhersh ... Linda
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Storyline

"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 Joe Bloggs

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, language and some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Hebrew

Release Date:

23 August 2001 (Russia) See more »

Also Known As:

Danny Balint See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$26,236, 19 May 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$406,035, 29 September 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

A copy of The New York Times is shown with an article about Danny. However, the article is not printed in the font the Times uses. See more »

Quotes

Young Danny: I'm the only one who does believe. I see him for the power-drunk madman he is. And we're supposed to worship such a deity? I say never.
See more »

Connections

References The Wizard of Oz (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brilliantly disturbing performance
16 August 2014 | by SnoopyStyleSee all my reviews

Danny Balint (Ryan Gosling) is angry. He questions his Jewish heritage and challenges his faith. The movie starts with him bullying a Jewish boy on the subway in New York. He joins a small group of fascists led by Curtis Zampf (Billy Zane) and Lina Moebius (Theresa Russell). Danny pushes for the group to start killing Jews. Carla Moebius (Summer Phoenix) finds him fascinating. Curtis doesn't want to go down that road again while Lina finds it appealing for their cause even if she doesn't believe in it. Reporter Guy Danielsen is writing about the right wing movement. Danny joins up with others as his star rises in the movement.

This is a character study of anger and self-hatred. Ryan Gosling is brilliantly unbalanced as he challenges religious authority. He's also superficially very convincing in his insane rants. More than anything, he's very charismatic. It is a bone chilling performance.


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