The Believer

( 10 )

Overview

This powerful independent drama about a Jewish man who joins a neo-Nazi group gets a well-appointed presentation for its DVD release. The Believer has been given a letterboxed transfer to disc in the widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and is enhanced for anamorphic playback on 16 x 9 monitors. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital 5.1; the dialogue is in English, with optional subtitles in Spanish. Bonus materials include a commentary track featuring director Henry Bean, an additional interview with Bean, ...
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Overview

This powerful independent drama about a Jewish man who joins a neo-Nazi group gets a well-appointed presentation for its DVD release. The Believer has been given a letterboxed transfer to disc in the widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and is enhanced for anamorphic playback on 16 x 9 monitors. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital 5.1; the dialogue is in English, with optional subtitles in Spanish. Bonus materials include a commentary track featuring director Henry Bean, an additional interview with Bean, an episode of Anatomy of a Scene created for the Sundance Channel, and the film's original trailer.
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Special Features

16x9 letterbox; 5.1 surround sound; Commentary track with director Henry Bean; Anatomy of a Scene: The Believer courtesy of Sundance Channel; Video interview with director Henry Bean; Theatrical trailer; Previews and weblinks; Scene access; English & Spanish subtitles
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sobel
A riveting, thought-provoking, and complex work, this winner of the 2000 Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival has been kept under wraps for too long. Initially shunned by distributors because of its daring, controversial subject matter, the film was first aired on Showtime and finally made it to some theaters in the spring of 2003. Inspired by the true story of a Ku Klux Klan member who was revealed to be Jewish in an article in The New York Times, The Believer recounts the transformation of a clever, argumentative yeshiva boy from Brooklyn into a violent neo-fascist skinhead. Canadian actor Ryan Gosling anchors the film with his volcanic and unforgettable portrayal of Danny Balint, a young man trapped in a vortex of destructive psychological contradictions. Director and screenwriter Henry Bean Enemy at the Gates appears to know his terrain, depicting with gritty verisimilitude both the clandestine skinhead world and the insular community of committed Orthodox Jews in New York. Billy Zane and Theresa Russell are convincing as Danny’s mentors in the right-wing underground. Russell is particularly effective, masterfully incarnating "the banality of evil." Summer Phoenix has an interesting turn as their brilliant but unmoored teenage daughter. Although Bean’s screenplay raises more questions than it answers, and at times strains credulity, it is never less than engrossing, intellectually challenging, and emotionally explosive. The Believer, a significant work that has sparked more than its share of debate, builds to an understated yet heart-pounding and devastating climax.
All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
Inspired by actual events, critically acclaimed, and marred in controversy, actor/writer Henry Bean's ill-fated directorial debut has finally found its way to the masses courtesy of Fireworks Pictures and Trimark Home Video. Protested after initial screenings and relegated to a pay-cable debut when distributors got cold feet, that plan too was scrapped in the aftermath of 9/11, and the film finally made its belated debut on DVD and home video. Despite the film's troubled history, however, The Believer is a film that is certain to linger in viewers' minds by offering both a disturbingly fascinating subject and a stellar performance by star Ryan Gosling (Murder by Numbers). Gosling's fiercely impassioned performance is completely captivating: in turns quiet, introspective and truly terrifying. Likewise, Summer Phoenix offers a chilling performance as a masochistic love interest who begins to show a marked interest in the religion she so despises. Though some viewers will undoubtedly be repelled by the film's controversial subject matter, it nevertheless remains an intelligent study in faith and inner conflict as presented through the mind of a troubled youth unable to come to terms with his origins. Despite a few minor plot holes and a questionable ending, some viewers may be agitated at the film's refusal to address the reason why Gosling's character develops such an extreme aversion to the faith that had previously driven his existence. Though it does offer flashbacks to the point where he began to call his beliefs into question, the focus here is instead on the result of those changing beliefs, not on what has driven them into being. The Believer is not an easy film to take in, and the questions it raises may be objectionable and difficult to endure for the majority of viewers. If one can remain neutral enough in one's convictions to accept the film on its own cinematic terms, however, this compelling and introspective drama is sure to inspire some interesting conversation long after the credits have rolled.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/19/2004
  • UPC: 660200305727
  • Original Release: 2001
  • Rating:

  • Source: Palm Pictures / Umvd
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:39:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ryan Gosling Danny Balint
Summer Phoenix Carla Moebius
Theresa Russell Lina Moebius
Billy Zane Curtis Zampf
A.D. Miles Guy Danielsen
Glenn Fitzgerald Drake
Garret Dillahunt Billings
Joel Garland O.L.
Heather Goldenhersh Linda
Jordan Lage Roger Brand
Technical Credits
Henry Bean Director, Screenwriter
Susan Block Production Designer
Roger Bobb Asst. Director
Damian Canelos Sound/Sound Designer
Jim Denault Cinematographer
Joel Diamond Score Composer
Susan Hoffman Producer
Mark Jacobson Original Story
Mayin Lo Editor
Lee Percy Editor
Dave Raphael Sound/Sound Designer
Christopher Roberts Producer
Eric Sandys Executive Producer
Lucio Seixas Art Director
Adrienne Stern Casting
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. God's Power [10:27]
2. The New Recruit [6:16]
3. Faith and Power [3:12]
4. They're Not My People [2:56]
5. The Interview [6:25]
6. The Country Retreat [3:28]
7. Target Practice [3:34]
8. Making an Impact [3:06]
9. Sensitivity Training [4:40]
10. Desecration [5:01]
11. God Intervenes [4:00]
12. Attack on a Jew [3:19]
13. A Fascist Movement [2:36]
14. Hebrew Lesson [4:00]
15. Seminar [4:34]
16. An Old Friend [2:53]
17. Explaining Judaism [3:08]
18. At the Synagogue [2:47]
19. The Lecture [3:46]
20. Assassination [4:41]
21. A Change of Plans [2:49]
22. A Warning [2:12]
23. Leading the Service [4:47]
24. End Credits [4:06]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Scenes
   Set-Up
      Audio Setup: 2.0 Stereo
      Audio Setup: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
      Audio Setup: Commentary With Director Henry Bean and Producer Chris Roberts
      Subtitles: English Subtitles
      Subtitles: Spanish Subtitles
      Subtitles: Subtitles Off
   Extras
      An Interview With Director Henry Bean
      Anatomy of a Scene
      The Believer Trailer
      Palm Pictures Previews
      Weblinks
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Discrimination Caused Havoc Within The Star's Soul.

    Unfortunately, the cover of the DVD may scare off many people because it comes across as racist. However, once one watches the film to its conclusion, one realizes that the film is about the danger of discrimination and identity crisis. It is not a film that is meant to alienate people, but rather one to point out the hardships of being in a group that is discriminated against and finding one's identity or being comfortable with it. Sadly, like several super stars in our culture who have had plastic surgery and other work done to look more like a WASP (e.g., Michael Jackson), the star of the film, a character named Daniel, also does so, but without any surgery. He shaves his head and discards anything Jewish. He denies his identity, claims to be a WASP, and even joins a neo-Nazi organization. However, Daniel, who was born into a Jewish family and grew up being taught in Jewish schools, not only wants to eradicate his identity, but he also wants to eradicate all non-WASPS, including his own kind, Jews. It is disturbing to watch this film, at points, especially the harrowing first scene. Later on though, you see how Daniel struggles with going against other Jews. In the end, despite his intellectual struggles with some of the tenents of the Jewish religion, he accepts his birthright. The film is well crafted. This movie is a good commentary on how discrimination can be so dangerous that it can eat people up from within, especially someone who is shakey about his or her family's/group's beliefs to begin with. It is a poignant demonstration of the evil of discrimination not just on an individual but on society as a whole.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    What a Movie

    This movie strikes at the deepest conflicts within man, the need to belong, the need to rebel, the need to identify with others like himself, the need to hate. The main character struggles between who he is in reality (yet despises) and the world around him. He projects his own doubts and personal philosophical angst onto others of his own race and creed. Yet, within in him, the question of identity continues to eat at him. As he teaches his girlfriend how to read to Torah, hides a Tallit under his swastika shirt, and recites prayers while giving the Nazi salute, the inner struggle of a man drawn to a past he has violently rejected is compelling, yet disturbing. Everyone should see this movie!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    To Believe or not to Believe?

    Complexingly interesting story. I found the main character Danny to be a person that many could relate to if they have ever studied religous works. His portrail of a questioning young boy in Torah classes was palpable. When his reasoned logic could only be addressed with ''you should believe because we have always believed'' his responses to life are understandable if not justifable. Good Movie, well worth the time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Amazing

    This movie is truely a cinematic accomplishment. It is too good to put in words and then ending is simply brilliant.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    An amazing talent revealed

    Ryan Goslin is an actor to watch. He tackles this complex role and intense subject matter with ease and mastery. Check out this movie--------a true actor has arrived.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Holy Kosher Cow (No pun intended)

    This movie is about the most disturbing movie i've seen since American History X. The conflicting views that the main character has about his religion and what he wants to believe is very powerful. He comes across as someone who knows what he is talking about. He studied the culture of his people and denounced them there after. This movie is for sure a must see.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    WOW!!!!!!!!

    I have never a story so different in my life. The story was very moving and mad me think all afterwards.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    surprising

    this movie is realy surprised me. the story is very different from everything i've seen until now. a jewish boy joins an anti-jew gang.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    AWSOME I AM SPEECHLESS

    Hi there my name is Sarah and I am 13 years old! I just saw the movie and some parts I could not watch! I just made me cry to see how horrible the life of Jews really can be! I am not a Jew but we just finshed reading Anne Frank and this movie really helped me to get a picture of what it is like for Jews everyday! I think Ryan Gosling was the perfect person to play Danny! He made Danny go through many emotions! I really apperticate Henery Bean for making a movie like this that teaches us such a vauleable lesson! I look foward to seeing more from Henry Bean and Ryan Gosling! If you have not seen this movie I think you should go out and see it right now because whatever religon you are this movie can be vaulable to everyone!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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