Film Reviews, Short Review

The Believer (2001)

3/4

An early starring role for Ryan Gosling, The Believer initially plays like just a rehash of American History X, with the crucial difference that this time the neo-Nazi is himself *gasp* Jewish! *cue dramatic music*. Thankfully, The Believer is more complex than that, and director-writer Henry Bean, himself Jewish, is more interested in a debate on the theological and psychological aspects of Jewish identity, in the process making Gosling a far more frightfully intelligent and divided character. Gosling’s performance and the film’s dissection of Jewish identity is superb, but Bean, a first-time director at the time but a seasoned scriptwriter, is not particularly nuanced in the former category, and some of the supporting cast are especially unconvincing; Billy Zane as a bizarrely cuddly fascist intellectual a prime example

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