Monday, September 22, 2008

MOVIE: Half Nelson

I picked this flick up because I really enjoyed Ryan Gosling's performance in The Believer. (Have to review that some time.) In Half Nelson, Gosling plays Dan Dunne. He's a zealous, free thinking teacher at an inner-city junior high school in Brooklyn. Well, that is his day job. It pays the bills. By night, he's an utter junkie. Crack, crank, coke. Washed down with some booze. And some hookers.

Throughout the movie, he teeter totters between his roles. Valiant champion of forgotten children by day, villainous dredge of society by night. A modern day Jekyll & Hyde.

The acting is incredible and utterly invisible. It is like watching a prolonged episode of A&E's Intervention. I hated the guy. I loved the guy. I wanted to wring his neck. I wanted to carry him in my own arms to a hospital. Very satisfying acting on all parts.

The direction and pacing are top notch. Very quick movie. Very flowing and seamless. Great writing. Engaging. Realistic. Contemporary. And phenomenal dialog.

Easily one of the most intriguing movies I have rented in recent months. Not something for the kids, but certainly worth the price of a rental and a bucket of popcorn for a date. I wish I had caught it one night at the theater with Cindy. We could have had diner and wine afterward and compared thoughts. Awesome flick. An unsung victory of a movie.

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