Nebraska ★★★★

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Master auteur Alexander Payne struck gold once again with his hauntingly bleak, modest tale of a father and son on a road trip. Payne captures Bob Nelson's minimalistic screenplay perfectly. His choice to shoot in black and white was a risky one that paid off in a major way. The tone of the entire film can be wrapped up in one of the scenery shots interspersed throughout the movie; desolate and barren, shrouding the faintest glimmer of hope. Nebraska follows an elderly man (played by Bruce Dern) desperately trying to make it to Lincoln with his son (Will Forte) in order to claim the million dollars he believes he's won. Along the way, the two of them learn what it means to love one another and show their affection in a positive way. Bruce Dern does an absolutely fantastic job portraying an old, mentally unstable, and socially distant man searching for purpose in life. The quirky, offbeat dialogue and the slow moving plot create a methodically consistent pacing that forces the audience to focus on the deeper meaning. Bottom line, Payne's latest film may be his best. Both Bruce Dern and June Squibb are sensational in their respective roles. While the popcorn flick action movie crowd won't be able to make it through the opening scene, I'd highly recommend Nebraska to all serious film fans.