Sunday, April 22, 2018

You Were Never Really Here

Movie Name: You Were Never Really Here
Year of Release: 2017
Director: Lynne Ramsey
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Judith Roberts, John Doman, Ekaterina Samsonov, Alessandro Nivola, Alex Manette, Dante Pereira-Olson, Scott Price
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 9
View Trailer

Director Lynne Ramsey's latest directorial effort is now on release, following its successful debut at the Cannes Film Festival of 2017, where it won two awards, specifically for Best Actor and Best Screenplay. This his first film since the fantastic "We Need to Talk About Kevin", and is based on the novel by Jonathan Ames. The film follows the story of Joe, a war veteran, who is haunted by his traumas, and who currently engages in the rescue of young women who are kidnapped or sold to slavery. He's brutal in his approach, and leads an invisible life, taking care of his elderly mother. His business partner sends him on a high profile case of retrieving the daughter of a senator who has disappeared. Following her retrieval, Joe is suddenly faced with a situation that exposes more layers of deceit than he anticipated. This throws his entire existence into disarray.
Lynne Ramsey has by now made a career for herself as a fantastic director with a unique point of view. "You Were Never Really Here" may, at a first glance at least, seem like a remake of "Death Wish", but it's oh so much more than that. The film manages to capture the inner darkness of the central character, from his childhood, through his traumatic experiences in the army, and how he battles and lives with those burdens in his adult life. The film is also stylistically stunning, allowing for the director to showcase an aesthetic that is engrossing, unique and fascinating. The film walks a perfect balance between character exposition, and explosions of violence, that are not tainted by a gratuitous flair - they are perfectly orchestrated (almost like a virtuous ballet of death). It's a film where all the parts come together perfectly, and it's also a narrative that sits beyond any specific time stamp that may be tempted to be attributed to it (it could have easily taken place in the 90s, or in the early millennia). The cinematography from Tom Townend is fantastic, as is the score from Jonny Greenwood. Joaquin Phoenix is once again phenomenal, proving that he is quite possibly the best actor working these days. A fantastic film worth watching.