June 2, 2007

Half Nelson - $10

Dan Dunne is an inner-city junior high school teacher in Brooklyn who is trying to inspire his 13 and 14-year-old students to see history as more than just dates and events.


Dan is a living example of the worldview he is teaching his students; a worldview that sees history not just as individual events but as the slow change brought on by opposing forces. Though Dan is in control in the classroom, his personal life is very much out of control due to a serious drug habit. Drey, one of Dan's troubled students, catches him in the act after school and an awkward and yet touching friendship is started.

Half Nelson is a great character movie. Several of the acting performances are subtle and powerful but none as much as Ryan Gosling's portrayal of Dan Dunne. The Academy got something right for once by picking out his performance in this small festival movie and nominating him for best actor. They got it wrong by not giving him the award but at least hey recognized his work.

This movie was an intense look at a person who is teetering on the edge of control trying to deal with his inability to change the world around him.

Great writing and directing compliment the solid performances in Half Nelson which is also rounded out by a fantastic sound track. This is a movie that should not be missed.

I emphatically put Half Nelson on my 'Watch It' list and give a value of $10.

6 comments:

Sheamus the... said...

hmmm....i will ahld to check this out...

Jon, Angie, Elijah & Brady said...

intriguing

Tony Tanti said...

Yes, you ahld check it out.

Jeff Coutts said...

Hey Dave, you are right, this was a really good movie. I was able to see it at one of the independent theater's here when it first came out. Ryan Gosling, who new?

I think what I liked most about his movie what how many times it surprised me. The first big surprise was that is was good. But also the plot was full of subtle surprises, when characters wouldn't quite respond the way you expected.

I also liked how the movie seemed to settle into tension and imperfection without out always trying to resolve everything.

I fear that your $10 rating might put some high expectations on this movie. It was the low expectations that helped me enjoy it so much. Or maybe it's good enough that it won't matter. I hope so.

* (asterisk) said...

This is another one that has not been that well received over here. But the missus is keen to see it, so I will give it a go. Glad you liked it.

Krystal Dawn said...

Movies like this intrigue me. I'll have to check it out.