Monday, September 12, 2011

The Believer (2001)

Danny Balint is a member of a gang of racist skinheads who espouses a vile but well-articulated philosophy of anti-Semitism. Danny also has a secret -- he is a Jew, and was a top student in Hebrew school before he began to ask too many questions about the deeper implications of the teachings in the Torah and the Old Testament, leading to his expulsion. Angry and confused, Danny began to explore the philosophies of the neo-Nazi movement, which he soon came to embrace through a mixture of anger over the tragic history of the Jewish people, bitterness over his experiences in Hebrew school, and a loathing of himself. Danny soon becomes a key member of a skinhead sect led by Curtis and Lina, but while Curtis and Lina believe that the desire for cultural assimilation by many American Jews will lead to their self-destruction, Danny advocates a more direct and violent approach in dealing with the "enemy." Danny gains the admiration of his fellow skinheads for his intelligence and commitment, and wins the affection of Carla, a group member with severe masochistic tendencies. But in time Danny's beliefs begin to shift once again, just as the truth about his background becomes known to his comrades.

Director: Henry Bean
Writers: Henry Bean
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Summer Phoenix and Billy Zane
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