***½/**** Image A Sound A Extras C+
starring Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, Stacy Keach
screenplay by Bob Nelson
directed by Alexander Payne
by Walter Chaw Alexander Payne returns to form after the disappointing The Descendants with the muted, often hilarious, and sentimental-without-being-schmaltzy filial road trip Nebraska. It's easily his most tender work, despite the mordant, sometimes bitter humour Payne has become known for in his best work (Election remains his crowning achievement; About Schmidt is no slouch, either), and it makes a brilliant move in offering a showcase opportunity for national treasure Bruce Dern. Shot in black-and-white, with a spare, minimal production design making it an expressionist piece projecting the barren interiors of its broken characters, Nebraska, though not the adaptation of the identically-named collection of Ron Hansen short stories I initially hoped it was, at least possesses the same wintry, intellectual mien.