Nebraska is a quirky, off beat drama about an old man played by Bruce Dern who believes he’s won the lottery. He then decides to walk from Montana to Nebraska to claim the prize money with his grown up son in tow. On the way, the old man called Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) meets friends and family members who all want a piece of the jackpot Woody believes he’s won. These encounters appear to give an insight into the troubled relationships Woody has with his friends and family. Woody’s son David thinks his dad is a nutcase but joins him on his little adventure anyway to look out for him. He is convinced that the letter Woody received informing him of his prize is some sort of scam.
The film is directed by Alexander Payne and shot in digital black and white which is unusual. This treatment gives the film an iconic look and makes it stand out from the crowd. The film has similarities to other slow-paced, off beat dramas like The Straight Story by David Lynch.
The trailer is interesting and it shows some of Woody’s encounters with his extended family after they hear about his jackpot win. Some of his friends and relatives act like parasites, they only care about how much money they believe Woody should give them. Others share David’s view and have doubts about Woody’s change of fortune believing it to be a scam or the fantasy of a senile old man. The trailer is nicely narrated and is also rather amusing, the humour is reminiscent of TV shows like King of the Hill as the film tries to find some comedy in the conventional, mundane aspects of life.
Bruce Dern is well cast as Woody and he excels at playing stubborn, oddball characters. Woody seems like a man who is determined to achieve his goal and is not easily dissuaded, his family all behave as if they are exasperated by him and find him a nuisance. The actor has already won the best actor award at the Cannes Film festival for the role which is cool. David is played by the comedian Will Forte in a surprising role and Woody’s wife Kate is played by June Squibb. Stacy Keach also appears as a friend of Woody’s and a local barfly.
Nebraska will be released on December 6th, check out the trailer and share your thoughts.