Lisa Schwarzbaum
May 24, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Believer

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
100 minutes
Limited Release Date
05/17/02
performer
Ryan Gosling, Summer Phoenix
director
Henry Bean
distributor
Fireworks Pictures
author
Henry Bean
genre
Drama

We gave it an A-

The estimable, controversial 2001 Sundance prize-winner, The Believer, which recently aired on Showtime, finally gets a theatrical release. The explosively talented Ryan Gosling (”Murder by Numbers”) stars as Danny Balint, a laser-bright Orthodox Jewish young man who becomes a neo-Nazi skinhead out of a twisted, erudite, love-hate of his own God. He’s Daniel in the lion’s den, or maybe Jacob wrestling with the angel, religious passion entwined with self-hate and self-destructive impulses. This intense project, a directing debut for screenwriter Henry Bean (”Internal Affairs”), provokes, troubles, and shocks, perhaps even more in the current world climate than when it was made; sometimes it even crosses into a wilder fervor than a less confident supporting actress like Summer Phoenix, as a Jew hater?turned?Torah student, can convincingly carry. But Bean’s commitment to serious theological examination is exciting, Gosling’s performance is riveting, and this fiery and imperfect feature shines as a demonstration of independent filmmaking at its most uncompromising.

You May Like

Comments

EDIT POST