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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 31.67%
Average: 18.33%
Pretty Bad: 13.33%
Total Crap: 3.33%

4 reviews, 36 user ratings

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Believer, The
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by Scott Weinberg

"A controversial gimmick in search of a better narrative."
3 stars

A one-note movie that beats its drum loudly and often, The Believer hinges upon the viewer's capacity for accepting a Jewish Nazi Skinhead. It's not Ryan Gosling's intense performance that prevents us from buying the whole package. It's Henry Bean's lecturing and self-satisfied screenplay that keeps this mildly compelling character study from evolving into anything more worthwhile.

Gosling's Danny Bolint is a miltantly self-hating Jew. Why? Not sure really. Through use of some clumsily overdramatic flashbacks, we learn that Danny enraged his Hebrew School teachers by challenging long accepted laws of Judaism. OK, fine. So Danny learns some untraditional teachings from his father. How that evolves into violent hatred for his own religion is anyone's guess.

The Believer is packed to the gills with various speeches, lectures and theological bantering. Much of it ends with someone getting a baseball bat to the head. In many respects, The Believer feels a whole lot like American History X with a Semitic gimmick.

Much of what does work in the film can be attributed to Gosling's excellent work as the hate-filled Danny, though his supporting cast is a mixed bag at best. (When Theresa Russell is the big standout, that's not exactly a great thing.)

Created more to incite than to entertain, and that's just fine. But this one's loaded with more cornball dialogue and convenient plot holes than your average Sandra Bullock flick, which makes The Believer a tough movie to take all that seriously.

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originally posted: 04/29/04 15:37:43
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell powerful 4 stars
3/28/07 fools♫gold More original and profound than I imagined; a step up from "American History X". 5 stars
6/10/06 Joe Welch Bungled presentation, confused with its own themes, but still interesting 4 stars
4/27/06 Caroline Raedeker provocative and compelling, but preachy and a bit confused. 4 stars
1/06/06 Phil M. Aficionado Pretty good because of the inner turmoil and contentiousness depicted; female roles weak 4 stars
1/03/05 Snickerdoodle Really good character study, but the ending was confusing. 4 stars
7/30/04 SMC Would've been better without all the uneccesary subplots. Excellent performance by Gosling 4 stars
6/26/04 Shant I thought it was an oustanding movie. Intense. 4 stars
6/21/04 Dick Logan Original movie, lead character gives strong performance, not AMX. 4 stars
6/02/04 Daveman Leagues better than American History X or Romper Stomper. 4 stars
2/11/04 Howard Sperm I want to puke with joy, a movie about a Nazi that kills himself! Sad the Nazi was a Jew 3 stars
1/29/04 Gloria Hoff a real hodge podge - and I'm Jewish! 3 stars
1/26/04 Agent Sands (previously Mr. Hat) It's another smart, creative microbudget film. 4 stars
1/22/04 Jennifer Kohli An amazing film, very realistic. 5 stars
6/24/03 Albie Gosling is great. not as believable as AHX 4 stars
6/05/03 gman too many story loops/plot holes, but a great performance; but a lackluster ending. 3 stars
6/04/03 Picky critic Original take on the otherwise overused neo-nazi theme 5 stars
2/11/03 Aussie Film Maker The story is too thin, and a bit melodramatic. Confronting but too many holes. 3 stars
9/21/02 marco guerra not that good eric but not so bad thom.bad acting,mediocre director 4 stars
6/15/02 Milan Stefe It is not art. It is not entertaining. What is left? 2 stars
6/03/02 Diana Philosophically Brilliant! Your relationship to God is in the way you treat other people. 5 stars
5/22/02 MethaneMan This movie was a major dissappointment. BAD ACTING!! 1 stars
5/21/02 Pap-shmear I thought the movie had a rather weak philosophical point to it. Nothin special. 2 stars
5/19/02 Simon.Birch I guess I just don't enjoy movies about guys with really f**ed up lives 1 stars
5/14/02 sally Unbelievable performance by Ryan Gosling 5 stars
4/05/02 The Bomb69 one messed up little boy!!! 5 stars
4/02/02 lauren mccreight a solid little film..... 3 stars
3/28/02 Kilmore Trout Absolutely outstanding work. A far better Sundance entry than In The Bedroom. Amazing! 5 stars
3/20/02 pkat unbelievable 5 stars
3/19/02 Justin Simpson A good movie that spun an excellent tale. 4 stars
3/18/02 Jenny of the best movies I have ever seen 5 stars
10/14/01 Fidel Di Paz I just sat through the end credits, unable to talk or to get up. It's a "must see". 5 stars
8/25/01 Patrick B Incredible, even for a gentile like myself. Deserves to be seen by everyone that can. 5 stars
8/22/01 Michel Ryan is great! 5 stars
8/12/01 John Askew Incredible -- awesome flick 5 stars
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  17-May-2002 (R)



Directed by
  Henry Bean

Written by
  Henry Bean

  Ryan Gosling
  Summer Phoenix
  Theresa Russell
  Billy Zane
  Garret Dillahunt
  Kris Eivers

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