LONDON – As Guy Pearce was unavailable Bruce Dern plays the role of an old man – who decides he has to collect a prize he’s received through the mail despite the protestations of his family, even if he has to walk to Nebraska to collect it.
Will Forte is his son, who reluctantly decides to accompany his boozy emotionally distant and possibly losing it dad. What ensues is Payne-ful, Alexander Payne-ful! That’s right the giddy young fogey who gave us About Schmidt and Sideways is back with another of his mature, occasionally hilarious and wryly sardonic road movies, where lessons are learnt and complex characters come to self-realization. In order for you not to confuse it with his other films, he’s gone and done it in black and white (post-production by the way, it was shot on color film stock). But to say the road is well-trod would be churlish, when it offers such a good time. Payne’s produced a well oiled and precise machine that delivers up its ‘isn’t life odd’ moments and along with crowd-pleasing scenes, killer lines and generally great acting – Mike Hammer and Saul, the lawyer from Breaking Bad turn up. There are no big surprises and the film does what it sets out to do, though it’s odd to regret it does so with such efficiency.