Harriet Lauler knows that she is in the twilight years of her life, and has had a long time to contemplate her legacy as a successful entrepreneur after she's gone. She's not willing to leave the writing of her obituary to chance, and so enlists the help of a the obituary writer at the Bristol Gazette Anne Sherman to write it the way she wants. Anne tracks down a bunch of people from Harriet's life to get a taste of the sort of woman she was - unfortunately, no-one appears to have a single nice thing to say about her. Harriet is determined to touch someone's life in an important way before she goes and visits a youth centre to get started. It's there she meets an adorable, street-smart young girl named Brenda who she employs as her 'intern' when she decides to become a DJ at the local radio station. The more Anne gets to know this woman, however, the more she finds her own life being changed by her new friend.
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Gold is more than a valuable commodity for Kenny Wells, to him it's an obsession. The year is 1988 and Wells lives in Reno with his partner, Kay. The balding, fast-aging man is constantly down on his luck and often resorts to pawning his partner's possessions just to get hold of a little money.
The wannabe businessman attempts to start many new ventures but constantly finds himself being turned away. One day Wells awakes from his slumber and recalls a vivid dream telling him to go find Gold in unchartered territory. Kenny has little knowledge of how to make it work but knows that this is the big break he's been waiting for.
Teaming up with geologist Michael Acosta, Wells tells Acosta about the land he feels is rich with unmined gold reserves in Indonesia. Talking Acosta into the project, they begin their ambitious dig with basic supplies and minimal investment. As their workers begin to see that their efforts are not garnering any results they begin to leave and everything looks like it's going against the Americans.
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Sometimes the law can get cause problems even for those who wrote them, particularly in the face of war. Thus, when an American spy plane is shot down while covertly photographing Russian bases, the thankfully unharmed pilot is held hostage by the foreign government. He'll only get to go home if America agrees to release their own spy, who's currently serving time in prison. Unfortunately, American law states that they can't just let a Russian spy go free without a proper appeal, and that's where James Donovan comes in. Donovan is a simple New York insurance lawyer not known for high-profile cases, but one thing he is is fair. He's asked to defend the spy and help organise the return of the American pilot, but that becomes a major sacrifice for the lawyer who now faces a struggle against some angry citizens who aren't going to let him forget it if they let the 'traitor' out of jail.
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It's the height of the Cold War and things are getting tense between Russia and America. An American U-2 spy plane has been shot down while photographing Russian bases, its pilot held captive. They're willing to release him, however, if only the American government send back an imprisoned spy of their own. However, by American law, that's virtually impossible - and that's where James Donovan comes in. An insurance lawyer who's never dealt with a case of such high stakes, he is enlisted by the CIA to defend the Russian spy in court in order to have him released and sent home without charge. It seems an impossible task when the whole of America are against setting him free and indeed even neighbours turn against Donovan, targeting his family as he tries to give one man a fair trial.
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James Donovan is a simple insurance lawyer from Brooklyn, New York whose cases have never evoked too much controversy. However, all that changes quickly when he is enlisted by the CIA to defend a Russian spy in an impossible mission to have him released from prison without charge and returned home. When an American spy plane pilot is shot down during a task of photographing Russian territory, he thankfully survives; however, the angry Russian government are not planning on handing him over too easily. The only problem is, the law is very much not on the side of the Russian spy and in order for their man to be flown home, the government have to find a loophole to release their own captive. Donovan believes everyone deserves a fair trial, but he's one of very few people who do and by putting his life on the line to help his country during the Cold War, he's risking his family too.
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In 1960, the hard work of many good people was tested greatly. The height of the Cold War was set to see a series of peaceful negotiation between the Americans and Russians, but a week beforehand, everything changed. An American spy plane was shot down by Russian missiles, carrying pictures of various Russian air force bases. While the US government tried to deny the charges, the Russians were able to provide the pictures, the airplane wreckage, and the pilot - miraculously unharmed. In exchange for his return, they wanted one of their captured spies to be returned. James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks), a simple lawyer, was tasked with creating a case to allow the US government to release the Soviet spy without jail time - a request that seemed almost impossible in the face of Cold War prejudice.
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Controversy has engulfed "The Believer" since its premiere at last year's Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize but still couldn't find a distributor because it's a frank and frightful portrayal of an angry young Jew who hates his own heritage so much he becomes a neo-Nazi.
An intense examination of faith and a challenge to the notion of blind faith, it has been misunderstood by filmgoers who can't stomach being inside the head of Danny Balint (played by "Murder by Numbers" killer Ryan Gosling). That is certainly understandable -- it's an ugly place full of intolerance and self-loathing.
The film has also been criticized over the possibility that it might find an audience among hate groups who may hear Danny's articulate, even well-argued malevolence and not see that in his obsession he's discovered a new, more profound (if twisted) devotion to his congenital creed.
Continue reading: The Believer Review
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