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The Believer

Danny Balint (Gosling) is a skinhead. He'll cross the street to shout abuse in the face of a Jew, hit him and kick him when he's down. But he's articulate, too, more than capable of holding his own in theological debate - so much so that he comes to the attention of American fascist organisers Curtis Zampf (Zane) and Lina Moebius (Russell). They want to groom him for a political role, but Danny impatiently advocates direct action: terror and assassination. Hard to believe Danny is a Jew born and bred. Screenwriter Bean's first film as writer/director is defiantly personal and provocative. Inspired by a news story about a Jewish anti-Semite, it takes this hard kernel of unpalatable truth as licence to pick over the elusive threads separating devotion from zealotry, love from hate, the sacred from the profane. Visually undistinguished, and marred by over-literal flashback and fantasy sequences, the film is driven by Gosling's revelatory performance. No polemic, the movie puts our own religious sensibilities and prejudices to the test. The result is arresting, prickly, vaguely funny, even - 'difficult' in the best sense.

Release details

Duration: 98 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Henry Bean
Screenwriter: Henry Bean
Cast: Ryan Gosling
Summer Phoenix
Glenn Fitzgerald
Garret Dillahunt
Kris Eivers
Joel Garland
Joshua Harto
Tommy Nohilly
Theresa Russell
Billy Zane
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