From 6th December 2013
"Increased inequality pose a fundamental threat to the American
dream, our way of life and what we stand for around the globe." Barack
Obama in a speech delivered on 4 December 2013.
There was no indication of the American dream in this film, more like
the American nightmare.
Set in the Mid West of the States the film is shot in an arresting widescreen
melancholic monochrome, appropriately enough given its subject matter.
There is little optimism in this part of the world, where the recession
has really kicked in and left folks with little future to look forward
But grizzled old-timer Woody Grant, impressively played by 77-year-old
Bruce Dern, he of Silent Running fame and a welter of other movies, proves
the exception, even if he is completely misguided.
He thinks he has won $1m in a magazine marketing competition, and although
family and friends try to tell him it is a complete scam, he refuses to
pay heed to them. It gives him hope in what is a befuddled wreck of a
Pigheaded Woody will claim his prize in Lincoln, the capital of Nebraska,
no matter what they say.
His son David (Will Forte) finally agrees to drive him there, with the
film depicting their encounters with people his dad used to know in times
past when he lived in Hawthorne near Lincoln.
There are some acutely observed scenes along the way, particularly when
they visit Mount Rushmore, the bar Woody used to frequent, his old workplace
and notably when, along with his wife, they visited a cemetery to pay
respects to former friends and colleagues.
But his missus, Kate Grant (June Squibb), a cantankerous, battle-axe
of a woman, appals her son with her bitter memories of some of the people
lying in the earth. He can't believe his eyes when she lifts the front
of her skirt to her waist and bawls at one of the plots "Look what
Squibb is the stand out performer among the many virtuoso performances
on show in the film.
Special mention also goes to Stacy Keach, in the role of the slimeball
Ed Pegram, who makes out he is devoted to Woody but only wants a slice
of his money. It's hard to believe but Keach once appeared in a Cheech
And Chong film!
Despite a lot of Nebraska being shot in the open countryside - there
are several alluring landscape shots - there is an all pervasive feeling
of suffocation. These people, despite travelling many hundreds of miles
cannot release the shackles which entrap them. They, along with the others
they encounter along the way, are trapped in their insignificant lives.......
So much for the dream!
Mores the pity the track by God Speed You Black Emperor 'The Dead Flag
Blues' was not part of the soundtrack. How apt it would have been to have
Comment left by Colin Serjent on 3rd January, 2014 at 14:14
Nebraska was processed in grainy black and white (the crisp digital image has been degraded to approximate arcane monochrome celluloid).