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The Believer


Price: $24.97 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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$24.97 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 5 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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The Believer + Half Nelson + All Good Things
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Editorial Reviews

A young Jewish man lives in impossible contradiction as a Neo-Nazi. Inspired by real events, the film tells the story of Danny Balint and his struggle between destroying his own people and being drawn back to Judaism. Stars Ryan Gosling, Billy Zane, The

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Ryan Gosling, Billy Zane, Theresa Russell, Summer Phoenix, Sig Libowitz
  • Directors: Henry Bean
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Palm Pictures / Umvd
  • DVD Release Date: October 19, 2004
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00049QQJ6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,503 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Believer" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Danny joins a fascist group of Nazi skinheads, and is very active in his hatred of Jews.
nycchic120
I don't want to say what the movie is about just because i don't want to ruin it for some people, but i definitely picked it because of the plot..
L. Argueta
As a film it holds together fairly well but mostly because of the blistering diatribes from Gosling as Danny, who comes across as very believable.
Tommy Dooley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

145 of 152 people found the following review helpful By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 17, 2003
Format: DVD
I was prepared to absolutely hate this 2001 film. It's about Daniel, a Jewish young man who's an anti-Semite. He supposedly hates Jews so much that he becomes a leader of a right wing group. He's cruel and angry and incredibly articulate about it. In fact his arguments are so sophisticated and well done, that some Jewish groups have called it a "primer for anti-Semitism". When the film was released, the press was so bad that the film never was distributed widely, especially since it came out around the time of 9/11.
Based on an actual true story, the film is hard to watch. The star, Ryan Gosling, is such a good actor that I believed in his characterization entirely. His performance is nothing less than mesmerizing, as we see him go through conflicts and gradually change. We see flashbacks to his early years when he attended a Yeshiva and argued with the teacher. We also see short sequences enacting a holocaust story of a murdered child that he plays and replays in his mind. We see a romance with a young woman who is fascinated with Judaism. We see him and a gang of young toughs desecrating a synagogue. There are a lot of ugly words. And forbidden concepts. I found myself cringing throughout.
My heart was beating the whole time. My eyes were glued to the screen. I was disgusted and fascinated and horrified. But, as the film progressed though, I saw that it was not an anti-Semitic film at all. In fact, it said some wonderfully positive things about Judaism and made me proud to be a Jew. However, I'm aware that many people will only see the hate and I understand why this film creates fear. It's very powerful. And it will probably feed the flames of hatred for those who already think that way.
The DVD has some wonderful features.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Westley VINE VOICE on May 24, 2003
Format: DVD
"The Believer" features Ryan Gosling as a Jewish fascist and is based very loosely on a true story from the 1960s. The movie has been quite controversial, and it was shown originally on cable when the studio that made it decided not to release it in theaters, even though it won awards at Sundance. It was filmed in a raw, almost documentary manner, but it's not really gratuitous. Clearly, it's meant to provoke the viewer into thinking critically about issues of anti-semitism, religion, hatred, and so forth. On that level, it succeeds. "The Believer" is the type of movie that is likely to elicit a great deal of conversation if you watch it with your friends.
Some viewers may compare it to "American History X," but I think that "the Believer" is a much more complex and realistic portrait of aliented youth and hatred. The most frightening aspect of the movie is that it forces the viewer to understand (but not neccesarily sympathize with) the lead character. Ryan Gosling gives a raw, believable star-making performance. Obviously, many viewers may be (justifiably) offended by this movie, but if you're open then give "The Believer" a try. The DVD also features a wonderful episode of "Anatomy of a Scene" that shows the making of one of the best scenes in the movie.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Connoisseur Rat on March 31, 2007
Format: DVD
Like many of you reading this review (I'm guessing), I first heard/read about "The Believer" after seeing Ryan Gosling's outstanding, Oscar-nominated (and should have been -winning) performance in "Half Nelson" - because in reading more about that film, people often referred to this one as containing a performance by Gosling that's every bit as stellar. Well, I'm here to say that those people were quite correct in that assessment.

And interestingly (to me anyway), I also found many parallels and echoes of "Half Nelson" in this film, which is notable because "The Believer" was made five years previous. In "Half Nelson", teacher Dan Dunne (Gosling) tells his young students about the concept of dialectics: "It's two things that push against each other in opposite directions."

And in "The Believer," we see that concept amazingly personified by Gosling in the character of Daniel Balint. After all, what could be more disjointedly dichotomous than a young Jewish skinhead who wears a t-shirt with a giant swastika on the front? Also, Balint has a thoughtful but tremendously conflicted mind that seems to find peace in mindless violence. A study of opposites, indeed...

I must admit that going in to this movie I was worried that such an extreme polarity in the lead role would make the character (or even the movie itself) a bit sensationalistic at best and cartoonish at worst. Thankfully, the script by writer/director Henry Bean and Gosling's thoughtful acting choices prevent them from being either.

In fact, as I later learned in the DVD commentary, this character is actually based on a true person and a real historical event.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By BD Ashley on February 4, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
At first glance THE BELIEVER seems like the ultimate oxymoron: a Jewish neo-nazi. What makes this movie even more fascinating is that it is based on a true story.
The opening sequence in which the film's protaganist Danny Balint (Ryan Gosling) beats up a Jewish student he stalks from the subway is chilling and leaves the viewer appalled at Balint's ignorance and self-loathing and his apparent unwillingness to accept his creed.
In several flashback scenes a nerdy Danny is shown in his Torah class giving opinions on religion his teacher doesn't like- actually very intelligent and provocative observations- his teacher's inability to accept a different opinion to his only serves to add another dent in Danny's psyche (As a lapsed Catholic, I can understand this all too well).
THE BELIEVER is utterly compelling, Gosling gives a frighteningly plausible performance, the scene in which he gives a newspaper reporter a look at his passionate but undeniably flawed reasoning is one of many powerful moments. A couple of other sequences of the movie I found very interesting is a film clip where God is describedby a yeshiva as "The purest form of spirit. Nothingness without end"; and especially the scene where Danny rolls up a damaged Torah scroll while his friends are destroying a Jewish synagogue. The movie also co-stars Theresa Russell and the almost unrecognizable Billy Zane both in fine perfomances as nazi radicals. I'll go so far as to say this is better than AMERICAN HISTORY X, which I also gave 5 stars. This is a must-see, though not for all tastes.
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