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The Believer

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I’m not sure how The Believer made it onto my Netflix queue. It was probably a recommendation from the stuff that I pick on my own. Regardless, I’m glad that I watched it.

The Believer is a powerful portrait of a Jew who becomes a skinhead. It’s part religious-psycho drama, part social-commentary. The main character’s flashbacks to his childhood religious training are deep, and provide insight into his growth and development.

The movie is a masterful adaptation of the true life and death story of Daniel Burros, a Jew who became a Ku Klux Klansman and committed suicide when the New York Times published a story that outed him as a Jew.

Unlike the true story, this movie provides a distinctive redemptive moment of grace when Danny Balint, the main character, connects to his heritage.

I think that I’m drawn to this movie/story because of its similarity to the characters drawn by Flannery O’Connor in her short stories. Danny Balint in The Believer lives life independent of a sense and memory of community, but connects with Truth remembered from the past at a significant, albeit tragic, point in life.

If you watch this movie, be aware of very strong language. (It’s probably not a good “general family” movie.)

Danny Balint is a powerful character, not unlike the Nazi character played by Edward Norton in American History X.

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About Roland

  • http://blogcritics.org/archives/2005/03/05/173245.php Tad Cook

    Just a minor correction here. Regarding:
    “The movie is a masterful adaptation of the true life and death story of Daniel Burros, a Jew who became a Ku Klux Klansman and committed suicide when the New York Times published a story that outted him as a Klansman.”

    Dan Burros was a Nazi who committed suicide in the 1960s when the NY Times outed him as a Jew, not as a Klansman.

    I haven’t seen the film, but am familiar with the story via the book “One More Victim: The Life and Death of a American-Jewish Nazi”, written by Rosenthal and Gelb of the NY Times.

  • http:.//www.rolandallen.com roland

    Thanks, Tad – I’ve made the corrections.

  • Eric Olsen

    sounds very strange and interesting – thanks and welcome Roland!

  • http://draven99.blogspot.com Chris Beaumont

    I had seen a trailer for this and thought it looked good, but hadn’t gotten around to it yet. AHX was a great film, now I will have to make a point to see this!