Saturday, 19 July 2014

Nebraska - Phil's Five Words for Films

Nebraska Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb and Bob Odenkirk star in this slow paced road trip film that explores ageing, relationships and life's aspirations. Filmed entirely in black & white, the cinematography is beautiful and expansive, showing the vast emptiness and claustrophobia of Nebraska's wide open spaces. Directed by Alexander Payne ( Sideways 2004, About Schmidt 2002, The Descendants 2011 ) it tells the story of an old man called Woody Grant ( Dern ), in failing health who is determined to travel across state to claim, what he thinks is, his million dollar prize from a local marketing campaign. After several failed attempts to walk the route, he is finally joined on trip by his son ( Forte ) who just wants to help and understand his father's obsession. The trip takes in Woody's home town and he re-visits family & friends and reflects on his past. Once word gets around the town that Woody has won lots of money, his past life starts to resurface and he has to deal with the outstretched hands of those who feel they should share in his good fortune. The film looks lovely and the characters are nicely portrayed, Bruce Dern giving the standout performance - although June Squibb gets all of the best lines and moments, playing his long-suffering wife. The slow pace and reflective mood of the film makes it a very easy watch that leads you up a pleasant and uneventful road. If you loved Payne's previous films then this one sits comfortably alongside them and you will enjoy what is on offer. A gentle film that rolls by like the flat and unremarkable mid-American landscape. Reflective and pleasant. ( Cert 15 due to mild language and themes. I'm not sure that there is enough to warrant 15 but maybe that is just me. )

7 out of 10.
Cert 15 ( UK ). 2013.

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