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|Ryan Gosling||Danny Balint|
|Summer Phoenix||Carla Moebius|
|Theresa Russell||Lina Moebius|
|Billy Zane||Curtis Zampf|
|James McCaffrey||Young Avi|
|A.D. Miles||Guy Danielsen|
|Ronald Guttman||Danny's Father|
|Jim Denault||Director of Photography|
|Carrie Stewart||Set Decoration|
|Peter Bucossi||Stunt Coordinator|
|David Shumbris||Utility Stunts|
|Joel Diamond||Original Music Composer|
|Susan Block||Production Design|
|Lucio Seixas||Art Direction|
|Alex Alvarez||Costume Design|
|Jennifer Newman||Costume Design|
|Henry Bean||Story Contributor|
|Mark Jacobson||Story Contributor|
Daniel Balint is a former Jewish yeshiva student, brilliant but troubled, who is now a fanatically violent Neo-Nazi in New York in his early 20s. As a child, he often challenged his teachers with unorthodox interpretations of scripture. He once argued that the Binding of Isaac was not about Abraham's faith but God's power: that God did not want Abraham to accomplish a particular task but instead asks unquestioning obedience, which Daniel refuses to give. He concluded that God is a bully.
Daniel finds a meeting of fascists run by Curtis Zampf and Lina Moebius, where he also makes a connection with Lina's daughter Carla. Daniel advocates killing Jews, and a banker named Manzetti in particular, but Curtis and Lina oppose harming Jews on practical if not moral grounds. However, Lina is impressed with Daniel's intelligence and invites him to their camp retreat in the country. Afterwards, Daniel and his fellow Neo-Nazi friends pick a fight with two African-American men, get arrested, then get bailed out of jail by Carla. He spends the night with her but returns to the home of his ailing father, where he goes through some of his Hebrew school notebooks and finds his old semiautomatic pistol. He is harangued by his sister Linda for his Nazi beliefs, but she also urges him to stay and have Shabbat dinner with his father. The men watch television, which is forbidden, leading them to commiserate on the incomprehensibility of Jewish law.
Guy Danielsen, a journalist writing an article on right-wing groups in the wake of the Oklahoma City Bombing, meets Daniel for an interview. He listens to Daniel's antisemitic rant, then reveals that he had been in contact with Daniel's old rabbi Stanley Nadelman and knows that Daniel is Jewish. Daniel pulls out his pistol and threatens to commit suicide if Guy publishes the truth.
Daniel goes to Lina's fascist camp retreat, where he meets Drake, a skilled marksman, along with an explosives expert. Six of the retreat participants, including Daniel, go to a Jewish deli, where they mock the other patrons and torment the owner about Jewish dietary laws until a fight breaks out. After this fight Daniel and his friends are forced to take sensitivity training, where they listen to the experiences of Holocaust survivors. One talks about how his infant son was murdered by a Nazi. Daniel is enraged that the man did nothing to save his son, but all the survivors assert that Daniel would also have done nothing to avoid being killed, and he walks out in anger. The story will haunt him, and he replays it picturing himself as both the Nazi and the Jew. Later that night, Daniel and the other Neo-Nazis break into a synagogue, vandalize it, and plant a bomb under the pulpit. They also tear, urinate on, and spit on a Torah scroll, though Daniel tries to stop them. After they leave, Daniel takes the scroll and a tallit with him. The next morning, the Neo-Nazis hear on the news that the bomb failed to go off because the timer froze at thirteen minutes, which the rabbi explains is a mystical number in Judaism and asserts that he believes this means that God protected the synagogue. Back in his cabin, Daniel cleans and repairs the scroll, envisioning himself as the Nazi soldier in the Holocaust survivor's story. He puts on the tallit under his shirt and performs a combination of the Nazi salute and Jewish prayers.
Drake soon approaches him with a plan to kill Manzetti, so the two ambush him outside a temple, where Daniel fires but misses. Drake sees the tallit under Daniel's shirt and realizes that he is a Jew, so Daniel shoots him and escapes. He still meets with Lina and Curtis, who want to start an above-ground movement to bring fascism into the political mainstream, inviting Jews, blacks, and liberals, and Daniel reluctantly agrees to help them raise funds. At the meetings that follow Daniel first charms, then enrages, their potential donors with his intellectual games, leading to his eventual expulsion. When the group hears that Manzetti was killed Lina suspects Daniel, since he proposed the assassination himself, although Drake is the real killer.
In the meantime, Carla comforts him and the two sleep together at Daniel's home, where she sees the stolen Torah and asks Daniel to teach her Hebrew, ostensibly for intellectual reasons, and they begin practicing Jewish rituals. He soon runs into an old friend and his fianceé, Stuart and Miriam, who invite him to a Rosh Hashanah service, assuming that he is an anti-racist skinhead. When Daniel arrives, another old friend calls him out as a racist skinhead, and as he is leaving, Miriam, who works for the District Attorney, tells him that half of the people in Lina Moebius' meetings are informants for the D.A. Later she offers to shield Daniel if he will wear a wire and try to get Lina to say something incriminating on tape, but he refuses.
As Yom Kippur approaches, Daniel calls Miriam and insists on taking Stuart's place at the pulpit on Yom Kippur. He and his friends plant a new bomb under the temple's pulpit even though they find it reinforced, limiting the explosion. When Daniel takes the pulpit the next day he is shocked to see Carla in the congregation as he leads them in prayer. He again imagines himself in the story the Holocaust survivor told him, this time as both the Nazi and the Jew. Daniel stops and tells to everyone to get out because there is a bomb, but refuses to leave himself, and dies in the explosion.
Daniel appears in the afterlife, ascending the stairs in the Jewish school he left as a child. His old teacher approaches, hoping to talk about the Binding of Isaac, and suggests that Isaac died on the mountain and was reborn in the next world. But Daniel ignores him and keeps going, up, and up, infinitely, as his teacher urges him to stop, calling out, "There's nothing up there."
Theatrical : 2002-05-17 : United States of America
Theatrical : 2001-08-23 : Russia
Theatrical : 2001-10-10 : France
Theatrical : 2001-12-07 : United Kingdom
Theatrical : 2001-12-27 : United Kingdom
Theatrical : 2002-02-08 : Italy
Theatrical : 2002-03-01 : Denmark
Theatrical : 2002-03-22 : Norway
Theatrical : 2002-05-10 : Greece
Theatrical : 2002-05-10 : Poland
Theatrical : 2002-06-07 : Spain
Theatrical : 2002-08-09 : Finland
Theatrical : 2002-08-16 : South Africa
Theatrical : 2002-08-17 : Peru
Theatrical : 2003-06-06 : Brazil
Television : 2005-06-23 : Mexico
Television : 2005-09-21 : Hungary
DVD : 2003-04-22
DVD : 2009-06-12 : Germany
2001-01-19 : United States of America
2001-07-14 : Israel
2001-09-11 : Canada
2001-09-18 : Greece
2001-09-21 : Finland
2001-10-11 : Poland
2002-01-27 : Netherlands
2002-03-02 : Hong Kong