Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Movie review - Joe

This is my first review in a long time so, I may be a little rusty. Pardon my dust.
I put off seeing Joe for a long time because honestly, I am not the biggest Nicolas Cage fan. We all know his films are all over the place. He can be a brilliant and make Leaving Las Vegas or, he can be downright insane with The Sorcerer's Apprentice. He is a very eccentric actor to say the least.
This brings me to Joe. After hearing numerous good reviews, I decided to give Nic a chance. First thing first, I am glad I did, This is an excellent film. Based on the book by Gary Hawkins and written by Larry Brown. Director David Gordon Green, best know for Pineapple Express and Your Highness brings this dark, brooding story to the screen with resounding success.
Joe stars Nicolas Cage in the title role of Joe, along with Ty Sheridan, known for his memorable performance in Mud as Gary. Gary is a teenage boy who is new in town. His parents are drug addicts and alcoholics. Gary's father is played by a real homeless man director Green found on the streets of Austin. Green often casts locals in his films to add realism. Joe runs a shady tree killing business where, he runs a crew to poison trees to later be cut down by lumber companies. The actors in the crew again, locals were fascinating. Most of their lines were improvised so well, they could be compared to Oscar winning actors. Joe hires Gary on to be a water boy and all around runner for the crew. Gary is a hard worker and Joe begins to grow a soft spot for the boy. We learn that Joe has an anger issue which explodes later in the film. Joe is an angry, depressed man who has nothing left in his life. His family has all but left him, Gary is the closest person he has. Joe becomes a very unlikely role model to the troubled Gary.

Gary has numerous fights with his father, played by Gary Poulter in his first and last role. Months after filming finished, Poulter was found dead in the streets of Austin. Knowing this before you see the film adds to the extremely disturbing ending with Poulter and his final scene. Joe has an enemy in Willie-Russell, played by Ronnie Gene Blevins. Blevins too has a very disturbing scene towards the end of the film. Willie-Russell and Joe clash throughout the film which leads to an unforgettable ending.

The rest of the supporting actors are equally impressive. Most have never acted before and, that just gives you a feeling of total authenticity. I was pulled into Joe's conflicted world and grew attached to him. Joe is not a feel good movie, it is a dark look at a dark world. I enjoyed my stay.

This also marks one of Cage's best performances in years. He captures the classic brooding behavior he is famous for. I can't recommend the film enough, this is a stand out surprise.

5 Milwaukee beers out of 5

Check it OUT!

Chris House
aka ArthriticZombie

1 comment:

  1. This is probably the best I've seen Nic Cage in awhile. But I still like Batshit crazy Wicker Man Nic Cage.