There are so many movies like "The Believer", so what makes this one special? That it stars the Gos? That he's such a live-wire, one of the few actors of his generation so interesting to watch do absolutely nothing because it's how he channels and compresses the rage behind his cool expression that makes him such a pretty boy case study? He's a perfect fit for a movie always ready to explode, about how the want to rebel against nothing leads only toward criminality and intolerance. I'm thinking Alan Clarke's "Made In Britain", Andrew Dominik's "Chopper", Danny Boyle's "Trainspotting", Shane Meadows' "This Is England" and maybe the granddaddy of them all, Mike Leigh's touchstone "Naked". All razor-edge satires, tongue in cheek but whose revolutionary ideals cut clear through rust and bone. I don't mean necessarily good ideals. It's what the auteur at the helm does with their on-edge protagonist that makes for works turns wicked and inspiring, or more importantly how they communicate with them, and how they finally communicate to us.
Henry Bean does that with Ryan Gosling in "The Believer", a strange little film about an ex-Jew (sorta?) white supremacist Danny (Gosling), a youngster with a lot of sensitivity and misplaced anger. His crudeness could come off as ignorant in the wrong hands. It isn't here. Bean won the Grand Jury prize at Sundance in 2001 and has since then made just one movie of note in 2007 with Tim Robbins about a guy who there rebels against his neighborhood's noisy car alarms. Fuck happened? Gosling seems to like to reunite with directors he's worked with before, so here's to the off chance him and Bean get together and make something as memorable a watermark as "The Believer" again. It twists into kind of a muddle by the finale, though with an incredible final shot, but the rest of "The Believer" couldn't be tougher or more thought-provoking.