Ryan Gosling is going to be a dad, and what better way to say “Mazel Tov!” than to watch one of his lesser-known yet extremely riveting roles. New this month on Netflix is The Believer, a 2001 independent film that stars Gosling as Daniel Balint, a former Yeshiva student who now lives as a fanatical Neo-Nazi. Despite his religious upbringing in the Jewish faith, Danny hungrily supports fascism and anti-Semitism, even going so far as to call for the murder of all Jews in the world. When he is not attending fascist meetings and camp retreats, Danny is instigating fights and arguments with the races and religions he deems inferior; one particularly painful scene shows Danny and his fellow Neo-Nazis taunting the owner and patrons of a Jewish deli.

In the wake of the Oklahoma City Bombing, Guy Danielson, a reporter for the New York Times, calls Danny for an interview. After listening to Danny’s anti-Semitic rant, Danielson asks how he can believe these things if he himself is Jewish. Danny, surprised to hear his secret said aloud, threatens to kill himself if Danielson publishes the truth in his article. What follows is a tormented journey of self-discovery, as Danny struggles to define himself amidst his loyalties, both past and present.

 


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