Thursday, February 26, 2004

A movie review!

The Believer

Wow. Based on the true story of a young Jewish man who became a Neo Nazi, The Believer is quite a powerful film. Director Henry Bean (screenwriter for Enemy of the State) serves up this controversial film, and it stars Ryan Gosling (Murder by Numbers) who's performance has been likened to De Niro in Taxi Driver. Can't say I agree with that, but Gosling's portrayal of Danny is very moving. My only beef with the film is that it seemed to only give you Danny's side of the argument, as he rarely interacted with any Jewish intellectuals. However, in his attempts to be both a Jew and a Nazi, one could say that he provides both sides of the story. Where the film really shines for me is the writing, Danny's arguments against Judaism are well thought out, and can be seen as valid. He hates the fact that the religion as a whole is pacifistic, the fact that the Jews as a people have no home to claim, and have always been nomadic, and the fact that the faith contradicts itself in every way. (What religion doesn't?) So, he becomes a Nazi, only to discover that everything he thought he could get away from is present in all social groups, no matter what their cause. Very rarely can you find someone who actually believes in what they are doing, be it praying to God, or killing Jews. Some do it for personal gain, some do it out of habit, while others do it because it is expected of them, or they do it to fit in. When there's nowhere left to turn, Danny realizes that his peace lies in being both a Nazi and a Jew, and it destroys him from the inside out. A great film, deserving of at least a rental. I for one plan on buying it, I'd love to hear the commentary by the director.


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