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Nebraska: New York Film Festival 2013

Straight from the Midwestern division of the Lives of Quiet Desperation Dept., Alexander Payne’s b&w road movie about a cantankerous old...

New York Film Festival 2013: Nebraska

Straight from the Midwestern division of the Lives of Quiet Desperation Dept., Alexander Payne’s b&w road movie about a cantankerous old coot (Bruce Dern) determined to cash in a sweepstakes prize and the estranged son (SNL’s Will Forte) who’s chauffeuring his quest plays like a Robert Frank portfolio reimagined as a familial tragicomedy. Faces weathered from life on the plains—or just plain ol’ life—populate the duo’s trip as past grudges and unpaid debts come back to haunt the elderly drunk. As with much of Payne’s work, you’re never sure whether the director is goading you into pitying these everyday people or feeling affection for them. But the praise Dern has earned among Oscar-predix pundits is well deserved; while both Forte and costar June Squibb (playing a scene-stealing, trash-talking biddy) deserve kudos, it’s the 77-year-old actor’s valedictory performance that adds brilliance to the film’s bleak Americana. Click for showtimes.—David Fear

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