Danny is a young Jewish man in New York whose rejection of his heritage has gone so far that he's now an active neo-Nazi.
Like a firework spewing out sparks, this film sends incendiary ideas in every direction, but doesn't quite manage to contain them to become an effectively explosive force.
In a breakthrough performance, Ryan Gosling plays Danny, a young Jewish man whose rejection of his heritage has gone so far that heÆs now an active neo-Nazi. His philosophy is to hate for hate's sake, even when advised to back down by a shady right-wing political group for whom anti-Semitism is a redundant notion.
Danny is a disturbingly seductive figure because, while we're repelled by his beliefs and physical violence, we're impressed by his intellectual strengths. As theoretical as American History X was visceral, The Believer - essentially the study of a Jewish Nazi - builds on the clash of opposites at its core.
Gosling delivers writer-director Henry Bean's complex speeches with real force, bulling through confrontations with box-clever arguments.
Reviewed by Alan Morrison