Sunday, May 20, 2007

Weekend DVD Review - Half Nelson

Watched Ryan Gosling in Half Nelson yesterday. He was nominated for an Oscar this year for the role, and it's clear to see why. The film is not your formula "white teacher saves inner city kids" fare. It's a gut-wrenching portrait of a drug addicted teacher and the intense bond he develops with a student. Shareeka Epps (related to Omar?) is amazing as the 13-year-old girl.

This is a slow-paced study of two characters, and much of the impact comes from subtleties...a look, shifts in body language, a facial expression. It's filmed almost like a documentary with a hand-held camera, so if this stylized genre is not your thing...I've warned you.

The soundtrack is incredible and is almost another character in the film. It is powerful, but it's also not Requiem for a Dream (which I loved as well). Watch it when you have a quiet mind and can give yourself over.