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Kevin Lally’s “Film Review: Nebraska” Is Elegiac Nod to Veteran Actor

In response to Kevin Lally’s 633‑word review of Nebraska on Film Journal International

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Kevin Lally’s “Film Review: Nebraska” is less a movie review than a pat on the back for veteran actor Bruce Dern. Readers, even those who only know him from his more recent work in HBO’s “Big Love”, will be happy for Dern and his late career cinematic renaissance. Many readers will recall him from some of his 1960s and 1970s films (Some might be surprised to learn his movie career stretches back to his 1960 debut.)

Though Film Review: Nebraska celebrates Dern, it is not to the detriment to the rest of the cast and film. Indeed, Lally moves nimbly back and forth between critical analysis and personal reaction. At the same time he sprinkles enough background facts about filmmaker and actors to whet readers’ appetites for more knowledge about them—and the film.

Spoilers aren’t important in a movie or review like Film Review: Nebraska. Everyone who’s ever seen a movie knows what’s going to happen to Bruce Dern’s character.

No, the journey is the thing; and on this one Lally does a splendid job of setting up the film’s premise in a way that draws readers in.

The last paragraph alone is a poetic and succinct summation of the current Hollywood milieu and how the use of black and white in film-making can make us cognizant of the proximity of the past.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation