A film by Henry Bean
Danny (Ryan Gosling) is a neo-nazi skinhead. At a meeting among other like minded individuals discussing how to bring about the rise of the Nazi party in America, he brings up killing the Jews. The other people at the meeting express shock and disagree about the necessity of this, but Danny speaks so passionately and articulately that while they don t agree, they are moved by what he says. Danny hates the Jews. He hates them. The film opens with a powerful sequencesthat is intercut with the opening credits on a black screen. We see a teenaged Jewish student getting onto a train. The music starts to pick up in intensity and Danny is getting closer to the student, pressing closer and intimidating. When the student leaves the train he is confronted and attacked by Danny. Now we see what kind of person Danny is. On the lapel of his jacket there is a Nazi Stormtrooper button.
Danny joins up with another group of young neo-nazis with the intent of harassing, damaging property, and even killing a Jew. This is the ultimate goal. To kill. To persecute. If this was all the film was about, we might still have a decent movie. But The Believer is much more than this because of who Danny is, and more specifically, what Danny is. Danny is Jewish. Now we are presented with the issue of Danny s hatred towards his own people (and by association, himself). Why does he hate them so much? How could he have turned out this way?
There are no simple answers and the film does not present any, though we see him angrily questioning as a child. There are partial answers that the film suggests, but nothing concrete. This is the power of the film, the conflict between what Danny is and who he chooses to be.