Sunday, November 24, 2013


    The new film from director Alexander Payne takes us back on the road as Woody and his son, David travel from Billings Montana to Lincoln Nebraska in search of a million dollar prize Woody thinks he has won. It is a family drama laced with quite a bit of low key humor.

     Bruce Dern plays Woody and Will Forte is David. Mr. Dern is excellent as a man who knows his best days are behind him but holds onto one last dream.  Mr. Forte finds his own zone against the veteran actor and the two men play off each other brilliantly. Co-starring is June Squibb as Woody's wife, Kate and she pretty much steals the film. In a smaller role, Woody and Kate's other son is played by Bob Odenkirk (fresh off "Breaking Bad" as the devious lawyer, Saul Goodman).

      Mr. Payne makes a wonderful choice to shoot the film in black and white. The cinematography is outstanding. Devoid of color, the landscapes look bleaker as do the faces of the weather worn cast but there is beauty in almost every shot. When Woody and David make a pit stop in Woody's hometown, we meet a bevy of interesting characters, friends and family members, who all take an interest in Woody's alleged winnings. The stark black and white images in many of these scenes are remarkable. 

       Watching this unlikely pair bond in a subtle but realistic way makes the journey more interesting than the destination. Its a memorable film both for the acting and the resonating beauty of it's visuals.

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