Inspired by a true story, this stylistically inventive 2001 film about a young Jewish proto-Nazi (Ryan Gosling) is the masterful first feature of writer-director Henry Bean, whose previous work as a writer has been on features as varied as Deep Cover
, Internal Affairs
, Enemy of the State
, Murder by Numbers
, and Chantal Akerman's musical, Window Shopping
. Persuasive, intelligent, and provocative—though it makes no attempt to offer a comprehensive psychological explanation for its antihero (assorted clues are offered)—this is both a film about hatred in the tradition of Samuel Fuller and a film about being Jewish. Gosling is compelling throughout and the secondary cast, including Summer Phoenix, Theresa Russell, and Billy Zane, is excellent; Bean himself plays a bit part as a Jewish investment banker and former ambassador whom the protagonist plans to assassinate. (Shown recently on cable, this is belatedly getting a theatrical release.) 98 min.