Nebraska is a film that has been showing in the United States for some time and is finally reaching Australian shores this week. It’s a special movie because if you’re like me you might want to be seeing Nebraska because you’ll find it’s one of the 9 movies nominated for the Best Motion Picture Oscar. Nebraska comes from Director Alexander Payne who some would know from The Descendants (2011), About Shmidt (2002) or Elecetion (1999). The film is written by Bob Nelson and stars Bruce Dern as the aging Woody Grant and Will Forte as David Grant, Woody’s son.
Nebraska has a very basic and simple plot to its storyline. Essentially Woody Grant finds a ticket which leads him to believe he won $1,000,000 and must travel to Lincoln to claim it. In doing so he is joined and aided by his son David for the journey to collect the prize. Along the way they go on this road trip around America in which we join along their jorney. You get a to learn a lot about Woody Grant and the Life he has led, the people he has met and where he is now as an old man. It’s sort of like a self discovery type of movie for the elderly, about life and some of it I guess about one’s legacy when they are gone.
Nebraska reminds me a lot of French cinema films I had to watch at University in my film unit. It’s a very simple story that doesn’t really go anywhere, happens in sort of real time and you just follow the characters each day. When it ends they sort of just finish and give you something to think about after viewing it and that’s what Nebraska was for me. I’ve never really gotten a chance to see films like this in the cinema because well they don’t really last that long and aren’t really box office winner’s. Nebraska is hardly going to break any records. Nothing is really happening, it’s just Woody Grant going to go collect his money, but you want to watch him, you want to see how he goes and it’s interesting. This is why Nebraska is good.
Now Nebraska is a pretty good movie in that there isn’t really anything to criticize about it, it’s just a simple movie. But in being a simple movie, I just don’t know anyone who I know who would enjoy this type of movie. This is a movie that people who love film would really enjoy. This is a movie that critics really enjoy and it’s a movie that people studying film will probably have to see or want to see. For those people I would recommend it, they would love it. But for a casual cinema viewer, I could see people finding it nothing but boring. It’s a slow paced movie that doesn’t go anywhere and it’s a shame really but I think it’s just not for everyone. It just depends on what type of movie viewer you are, if you love cinema and the art of cinema then this is the film for you!
Nebraska has some very good performances and subtleties to it’s acting. Bruce Dern as Woody was really believable in this role and there was a scene a bar where he stood up to receive an applause and there was a slight smile on his face to show his happiness, it was very subtle, but well done. Will Forte as David Grant was also very good in his role, but for some reason and I don’t know why really but I found him annoying as a character, it might just be me though. All the supporting cast like June Squibb, Stacy Keach, Rob Odenkirk etc were all good as well in their roles. There wasn’t really anything amiss with their characters portrayals.
One thing I did like about Nebraska was the main theme for the film, it was quiet but I could hear it throughout and I think even though it’s not that great when you listen to it in isolation I thought that it fit the film quite well. I stayed throughout the credits listening to it. I also thought that adding the black and white made this movie look a bit better than it would have. For some reason I have this thought that if it was in colour it would have lost a lot its style and made the film less interesting somehow, I don’t know why but the black and white made it better.
Overall Nebraska is a good solid film with a great story and great acting. This isn’t a movie that I think everyone will enjoy but that’s not a bad thing. It’s something that is its own experience and there are many people out there that will consider this movie phenomenal. While I don’t think it will win Best Picture, I think it is deserving of the recognition it received. If you’ve got the time and this movie has caught your attention, just go and watch it. If you’re ticking movie’s off the best picture list and need to get this one done, let me know what you think, but otherwise a rental if probably the best choice for most people.