Directed by: Lynne Ramsay
Screenplay by: Lynne Ramsay
Based on the book by: Jonathan Ames
Produced by: Rosa Attab, Pascal Caucheteux, James Wilson, Rebecca O’Brien, Lynne Ramsay
Director of Photography: Thomas Townend
Music by: Jonny Greenwood
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Judith Roberts, Ekaterina Samsonov, John Doman, Alex Manette, Dante Pereira-Olson, Alessandro Nivola.
Winner of Best Actor & Best Screenplay at Cannes Film Festival, 2017, there’s already a buzz surrounding the release of this film – and You Were Never Really Here went beyond expectation.
This is a grisly and astounding crime film where director and screen writer, Lynne Ramsay (We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011)) has brought together elements of different sounds (Jonny Greenwood) and disjointed time to create something more.
Flashbacks and hallucinations show the fragile mind of Joe (Joaquin Phoenix), ex-military, gun-for-hire, as he works jobs as an enforcer – ‘brutally’ if necessary.
With hammer in hand Joe delivers a fatal blow to hench men who get in his way like he’s striking a blow at the demons who continue to haunt. He’s like an avenging angel – a theme built upon through-out the film.
Based on the book by Jonathan Ames where little girls need to be rescued from very bad men, Joe’s asked to meet a senator who’s daughter, Nina (Ekaterina Samsonov), has been taken. And we see how brutal Joe can be and how deep the darkness reaches from the men who hide evil behind power.
This is a visceral and gritty crime movie with a magnitising performance from Joaquin Phoenix – I just couldn’t look away from this guy.
There’s something fascinating about Joaquin as he perfectly imbodies this hitman haunted by his past.
I was tempted to draw comparisons with, Léon: The Professional (1994): the older assassin who befriends the young girl.
But You Were Never Really Here is more than the relationship between a bad guy doing good and a troubled young girl who understands – this is more about Joe haunted by his past; about the mother he cares for (Judith Roberts) while his mind is lost in memory.
With the dislocation of time, the past and present blur only to be brought back into focus with Joe grounding himself by asking, ‘What the fuck am I doing?’
Images sign-post the story: the dialated pupils of a girl’s blue eyes, the silence of a black and white security video, broken glasses, the eye glass with blood-stained jagged edges – the disintegration of a green jelly bean, the fracture of sugar a signal of the darkness to come.
There’s a crime story here but the weight of the film lies in the showing of how Joe sees the world as we look at him as his eyes are reflected in a car window looking back.
Astounding performance, gritty story and visually, brutally poetic.
© GoMovieReviews 2015-2018
Images not owned by GoMovieReviews are used for promotional or illustrative purposes and their copyright remains the property of the original owner.