Courtesy of Next Projection and TIFF Bell Lightbox, I was able to attend an advance screening of Nebraska (2013). Director Alexander Payne (Sideways, The Descendants) was in the house and was led in an introductory interview and post-show Q&A by TIFF Artistic Director Cameron Bailey. Providing information about his filming process and the film itself, the comments throughout the event shored up a much richer experience of the film, which I will share with you amidst my review.
The latest feature by the Academy Award winning director is certainly amongst his finest achievements. Shot in black and white with cinemascope lenses from the 1970s, Payne’s Nebraska is a highly affectionate, nostalgic, and ultimately sincere depiction of family, relationships, and sentimentality. While I previously commended Payne’s rhythmic timing in The Descendants, stating that “the film leaves the viewer with a lingering flow of images,” I must state that he has outdone himself here. Nebraska, yet another road film by Payne, shares a journey, and while episodes bring elements together to enrich the journey, the movement of the journey never relents. There is a sense of changing, of becoming, that is an essential aspect of the film, and while the landscape changes, so too do the amiable characters that are portrayed.