Pin It
Favorite

DVD Review 

by Michael Bowen & r & & r & Half Nelson & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & F & lt;/span & or movies that earn only $2.7 million at the box office, a release on DVD is practically a premiere. Now lots of people will start seeing Half Nelson, the dual story of a middle school teacher with a drug problem (Ryan Gosling, The Notebook) and his student Drey (Shareeka Epps), who's in danger of being seduced into drug-dealing.





Gosling isn't going to win Best Actor, but the fact that he was nominated underscores why the Oscars matter: They call attention to acting artistry that would otherwise be overlooked. Consider, for example, the wide-eyed look of fear and shame on Gosling's face when Epps discovers her teacher slumped in a toilet stall in the girls' locker room, disoriented on crack and overwhelmed with self-loathing. Or the way he wipes his mouth self-protectively on anything that's available: a shirt collar, even his neckties. Or his shifty, blinking eyes during a one-night stand: He's all cleaned up now, he says, right before snorting another line of coke. "For the most part," he admits, "I do it now to get by, but I can handle it." He knows that he's deceiving himself and does it anyway.





Gosling carries this movie -- a task made all the more difficult by director Ryan Fleck's decision to shoot in claustrophobic close-up nearly throughout. Details are telling: the belt stapled like a shoulder strap to his teacher's briefcase, the concealing aviator glasses, the star-spangled bandage Gosling sports on his lower lip after a woman punches him for getting pushy about having sex.





Extras are skimpy and lack the 16-minute short starring Epps that started this project. The audio commentary, by writers Fleck and Anna Boden (who also edited and helped produce), is mostly chatty and aimless, though they're informative about what was improvised on-set and how often scripted dialogue was cut to increase scenes' visual impact. And while Boden and Fleck are way too obsessed about their soundtrack, they're still amusing about the things new filmmakers learn when working with a budget for the first time. So what if they only grossed $2.7 mill? Half Nelson should perform well on DVD.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • OK, Hold Your Nose
  • OK, Hold Your Nose

    Everything you need to know before Election Day
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Base of Support
  • Base of Support

    Polling local leaders and opinion-makers about presidential politics
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • The Messenger
  • The Messenger

    Local leaders weigh in on how Donald Trump's campaign has impacted racism in America
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion

Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion @ Mobius Science Center

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 31

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Murrow's Nightmare

    Debate moderators need to be much more than an onstage prop to make our democracy work
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

election 2016


trail mix


Briefs


green zone


marijuana


Readers also liked…

  • Running Dry
  • Running Dry

    How Wild Waters slid from the top water park in the Inland Northwest to an abandoned ruin
    • Jun 24, 2015
  • Patrolling While Black
  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation