A lot of great films this year are creating greatness with less. Definitely a great year for dramatic, character driven filmmaking driven by great writing. I truly admire Alexander Payne’s work and his recent work “Nebraska”, I just watched today. I have got to be honest I didn’t expect it to be the way it was as I didn’t watch the trailer of it and neither any promos, just heard about it on the Oscars and the movie was nothing like Hollywood. Nebraska is a beautiful continuation of a fascinating talent.
Don’t be put off by the cinematography; rather, this has made the true colors emerge. Payne’s Nebraska still manages to feel small and claustrophobic most of the time. While in few ways the film is charming and gentle, it’s mostly sour and acidic. This is American Gothic in the extreme, a sad examination of the end of lives. I was exposed to the idea of insignificance. When we leave this world, what was the point? Who will remember, and does it matter? I believe we live our lives with purpose and once that purpose is served we ought to leave but when the end comes, every memory of our life becomes meaningless and possibly forgotten.
I really enjoyed Bruce Dern, but I didn’t really care for Will Forte’s portrayal of his character. Though I think he was set up rather simply, not his fault, I still felt like he was a bit boring in the role. Most simplistic definition of Nebraska is a black and white, dark comedy version of “The Trip to Bountiful,” with a man searching for purpose a midst the ruins of childhood. There’s an incredible sadness pervading the entire film, very much akin to “About Schmidt.” We must come to terms with whatever life has forced upon us and appreciate our time, no matter how messy. It is an emotional truth difficult to embrace. This is a brave, beautiful film, with cinematography as striking as “My Darling Clementine.” Films like “Nebraska,” and directors like Payne as Most of his films have a deeply sympathetic core and moving insights., are why I continue to watch movies.
A pitch-perfect performance from Dern graces Payne’s latest road-movie – another bittersweet meditation on the sad, comic futility of life. Nebraska is a very well made film with a few minor laughs, but the overall vibe I received while watching makes it a hard film to entirely enjoy. Overall, I’m glad I watched it as it taught me more about life.