Half Nelson

Section: Discovery of America
Directed by: Ryan Fleck

USA, 2006
Dir.: Ryan Fleck
Scr.: Ryan Fleck, Anna Boden
Phot.: Andrij Parekh
Editor: Anna Boden
Music: Broken Social Scene
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Jeff Lima, Shareeka Epps, Karen Chilton, Monique Gabriela Curnen, Anthony Mackie
Format: 35 mm; Colour
106 mins

Contact: Think Film

Distributor in Hungary: Odeon-Corner Film

Dan Dunne is a 30-ish public school history teacher by day, well-liked by his students. By night, however, he trolls bars, getting drunk and doing drugs, his bleary-eyed demeanor noticeable in class the next morning. Also coach for the school girl’s basketball team, Dunne is found semiconscious in a locker room stall after a game by 13-year-old Drey – he’s just smoked crack. Her dad’s a no-show in giving her a ride home, so Dunne fills in, after he’s come down a bit. From this unlikely start an extracurricular friendship begins.

“A terrific performance by Ryan Gosling is the chief but hardly sole reason to embrace Half Nelson, a first narrative feature by director Ryan Fleck. Sympathetic but toughly observed pic avoids melodrama in the potentially hyperbolic tale of a white teacher losing his own battle with drugs while trying to mentor an African-American student whose family has been torn apart by drug dealing. Avoiding boyz-in-the-hood violence, scrupulously low-key drama nonetheless builds to a powerful impact. Archival clips showing key moments in the history of the Civil Rights struggles lend the story a larger dimension without getting too heavyhanded. Shot on location in Brooklyn, pic’s presentation is unobtrusive and straightforward, with largely handheld camerawork and a very good original score by Broken Social Scene.” (Dennis Harvey)

See also:
3:10 to Yuma Body/Antibody
In the Valley of Elah Loren Cass
Rescue Dawn Shotgun Stories
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