A mess of an elderly man (Bruce Dern) shuffles along the margins of a busy highway in Billings, Mont., in the opening scene of this searing lament for post-economic collapse America. Dern gives the performance of his life as Woody, a confused, aging man who believes he has won $1-million in the sweepstakes, and is bent on collecting his winnings in Lincoln, Neb. His shrew of a wife (June Squibb) ridicules him, but son David (Will Forte) takes pity on his old dad, and they set off for one last road trip. A detour to Woody’s tiny hometown proves you can’t go home again – especially if the whole economically depressed town thinks you’re suddenly loaded. Shot in black and white, the film is a gorgeous, grim and sometimes hilarious meditation on the slow downward spiral toward the grave, and the collapse of the American Dream.
At VIFF: Sept. 26, 6:45 p.m., Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts (Canadian Premiere); Sept. 27, 3 p.m., Centre in Vancouver