Director Alexander Payne walks a fine line between condescension and affection in his latest film, “Nebraska.”
And, as usual, he comes down on the sweet side.
But only after he’s painted a fairly bleak portrait of losers and oddballs in American Midwestern farm towns. It’s obvious he loves small-town America, but he also likes to make fun of it.
Shot in rustic black-and-white, “Nebraska” follows an old alcoholic named Woody Grant (a finely grizzled Bruce Dern) who receives a sweepstakes letter in the mail and believes he has won $1 million.
His ornery wife Kate (June Squibb) tells him he’s crazy, but he keeps setting out on foot to walk from Billings, Mont., to Lincoln, Neb. to claim his prize.
His oldest son Ross (Bob Odenkirk), a TV newscaster, wants to put Woody in a home, but his other son, David (Will Forte), a lost soul who sells stereos at an appliance store, decides to humor the crotchety old man and drive him to Lincoln.
So off they go.
About the Film:
"Nebraska" is a father and son road trip, from Billings, Montana to Lincoln Nebraska that gets waylaid at a small town in central Nebraska, where the father grew up and has scores to settle. Told with deadpan humor and a unique visual style, it's ultimately a story of a son trying to get through to a father he doesn't understand.