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Film review: Nebraska

On February 20, 2014

By Sophia Whitfield

Shot in black and white, Nebraska is the small town story of a man past his prime who is convinced he has struck it rich after receiving a sweepstakes ticket for $1m in the mail.

Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) is taciturn and difficult, his wife Kate has little regard for him and his two sons are constantly receiving calls from Kate after their father has gone missing. The sheriff returns Woody to his wife, but soon he is off again. No one will drive him so he is walking to Nebraska, some 750 miles, to claim his prize.

His two sons have stayed close to home, but live very different lives. The eldest, Ross Grant (Bob Odenkirk of Breaking Bad fame) is a local anchor- man; he is married with two children and deemed by all to have achieved great success. His brother, David, (Will Forte) is a salesman; he lives alone after the recent departure of his partner of two years.

Worried about his father, who can barely shuffle a few steps, David offers to drive Woody and so begins a family odyssey as they drive to Nebraska calling in on their way to the town David grew up in. Woody is surrounded by his brothers, but each one has his own agenda. When family and friends learn Woody has come into some money, the underbelly of small town life comes to the fore.

Dern picked up a well deserved best actor prize at Cannes  for his performance . Directed by Alexander Payne (The Descendants), Nebraska is a heartbreaking look at familial ties and hopeful salvation.

Nebraska is out today, in cinemas across Australia.

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