Nebraska has a pretty simple premise. Woody Grant, an elderly alcoholic who is non-responsive most of the time receives a marketing letter saying he has won a million dollars. When he takes this as gospel and becomes obsessed with travelling to Nebraska to claim his winnings, his son offers to drive him there.
However, what turns into a road trip to redeem his prize ends up as a return to his hometown where through old friends and family, his son begins to unravel the mystery that is his father.
I’ve never rated the films of Alexander Payne as highly as other people but Nebraska deserves all the accolades it has received so far
I had no idea what to expect going into it but what I got was a pretty fascinating exploration into family, regrets and what the very idea of money can do to people.
It has an excellent screenplay by Bob Nelson whose characters are so rich and well written. Most of them are strange yet oddly familiar to people I know in real life which despite being slightly worrying, makes the film all the more funnier to watch.
The central performance by Bruce Dern, an actor I’m not really familiar with, seems to be the main talking point of the film and rightly so. His acting isn’t over the top and he really isn’t given a lot of big moments to really show off his skills but none the less puts in a multi layered and fascinating performance.
June Squibb also deserves a lot of praise for the work she does here. She plays the role as Katie Grant in a way which will equally make you love her and hate her throughout the film. She gets a lot of the films funnier moments, a graveyard scene being the highlight, which both shocked and tickled me at the same time.
Another thing that I really like about Nebraska is the way it looks. The black and white works really well and adds a whole new layer to the images on screen, particularly the stunning shots of the various landscapes.
The fact that it’s been shot digitally and then de-graded to look more like a film from the 70’s (it even has the old school paramount logo at the beginning) is pretty cool too.
I came out of Nebraska surprised at how much I actually enjoyed it. It’s a film which completely enthralled me in terms of its visuals and it’s story from the very beginning and which despite dipping it’s toes into dark territory, overall left me feeling uplifted by it’s final few moments.