The Believer 2001 ***

Based on the true story of Dan Burros, an American Jew who joined the American Nazi Party, Writer/director Henry Bean’s 2001 feature was the first glimpse of Ryan Gosling’s abilities as an actor. Gosling plays Danny Balint, whose self-loathing moves him to become a swastika sporting skinhead punk, despite his Orthodox Jewish background. Bean’s work on Internal Affairs and Deep Cover demonstrated his ability to fashion tight, realistic storytelling, and he surrounds Gosling with strong performers, from Summer Phoenix and Garret Dillahunt to Theresa Russell and Billy Zane. Too controversial for awards recognition or a wide-release, The Believer is a shocking film that packs considerable intellectual power in its portrait of a disturbed young man.


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