Believer, The (2001) - Synopsis
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and one of the most acclaimed independent films of recent years, THE BELIEVER is a daring and courageous portrayal of a young Jewish man living an impossible contradiction as a neo-Nazi. THE BELIEVER will be released in US theatres in May 2002 by Fireworks Pictures through its theatrical distribution joint venture, Independent Distribution Partnership (IDP).
Inspired by real events, THE BELIEVER presents the gripping story of one man's striking philosophical evolution. Danny Balint is an intense young man whose fierce intelligence and inexhaustible curiosity once made him a star pupil at his local Yeshiva. Now, at age twenty-two, he focuses this intensity on altogether more sinister aims; as a rising star in local neo-fascist circles, Danny spends his days attacking synagogues and fomenting hate among a devoted band of followers. Yet while working tirelessly to realize the destruction of his own people, Danny finds himself inexplicably drawn back to Judiasm. This terrible inconsistency in the heart of Danny's soul - the yearning to study Torah and to attack Jews - and the avoidance of easy psychological explanations, make THE BELIEVER one the year's most complex and provocative films.
THE BELIEVER was written and directed by Henry Bean, who has penned such successful psychological thrillers as INTERNAL AFFAIRS, DEEP COVER, and ENEMY OF THE STATE. Bean was recently honored with the Independent Film Project's prestigious Open Palm award for his work on the film. In addition, THE BELIEVER won the top prize at this year's Moscow International Film Festival, and was selected for competition in the Contemporary World Cinema Section of this year's Toronto Film Festival, as well as the Munich and Jerusalem Film Festivals.
Ryan Gosling's electrifying performance as Danny has garnered the young actor rave reviews across the board. Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly, for example, described the actor's performance as "the revelation of the Sundance Film Festival. " THE BELIEVER also stars Billy Zane (TITANIC, THE PHANTOM, BACK TO THE FUTURE,), Theresa Russell (WILD THINGS, BLACK WIDOW) and Summer Phoenix (COMMITTED, S. L. C PUNK, THE FACULTY).
Co-financed by Fireworks Pictures, THE BELIEVER was produced by Christopher Roberts (ANIMA, CHERRY PICKER, PRIX FIXE) and Susan Hoffman (SINGLE WHITE FEMALE, KISS OF DEATH, BEFORE & AFTER, DESPERATE MEASURES). Executive producers are Jay Firestone, Adam Haight, Daniel Diamond, and Eric Sandys.