movies, music and everything else

This blog is about pretty much what the title implies... movies, music and everything else.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

I like movies, music and everything esle... ; ) oh... and i can't spell, so, please, no comments

Monday, January 30, 2006

SUNDANCE 2006: half nelson

Back in 2001, Ryan Gosling delivered an amazing performance in a film (THE BELIEVER) that played at Sundance. Now, 5 years later, he returns with another film and another great performance. This film is HALF NELSON.

This film from writer/director Ryan Fleck was based on a short film that played at Sundance in 2004. It is a very well made, complex and unique movie. Gosling plays Dan, and inner city junior high school teacher with an addiction to crack, who forms an unlikely friendship with Drey (Shareeka Epps), one off his students. This story could have easily been something like LEAN ON ME or one of the lesser clones, but it is so much more than that. Dan is an exceptional character. He wants to make a difference. A great teacher and a really good person, he connects with his students to make a difference in their lives. This is a great story of how much a teacher can do in the lives of his students. What makes the character great though, is the flaws. He is addicted to drugs, and no matter what he does and ho hard he tries, that addiction is stronger than he is.

When Dan meets Drey, he sees the potential of who she might be and dos everything he can to help her avoid the world that she lives in and that her brother is a part of. The problem is that he is an addict and he is a part of the world that he is trying so hard to save her from.

Gosling is fantastic in this film. He captures the pain and the passion that Dan struggles with throughout. It is a beautiful layered and textured performance. I knew how great Gosling was, but the real surprise was the 13-year-old Epps. She had no acting experience and held her own with Gosling. She presents a maturity beyond her age, but the youthful innocence only capable off a young girl.

This is a great movie and I hope that it is able to find an audience when it gets released. Ryan Fleck did a great job in both writing and directing this film. I can’t wait to see what he has planned for his next project. I wish that Sundance would have given a special award for Goslings performance. He is that good.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with your critique of the film, but I wonder if you had the same uncomfortabe feeling that I experienced during one of the scenes. Also, you did not mention Anna Boden, who co-wrote the film. Tisk, Tisk.


2:40 PM  
Blogger Humby said...

there are many uncomfortable moments in the film. i am not sure to which you are referring, but most likely i did.

as far as Anna Bowden, you are right in your scolding. she did not only co-write the film, but also produced it. watching the Q & A, they are truely a team of filmmakers. my bad

4:39 PM  

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