Say what you want about Joaquin Phoenix, but the boy can act his buns off. In the new psychological thriller You Were Never Really Here, Phoenix is a former soldier turned FBI agent, no nonsense hitman-on-a-mission who now devotes his time rescuing kidnapped young women from a sex traffickers.
Bringing to light a variety of subjects that have garnered major media attention, this film illustrates how one man is determined to make a difference. UK filmmaker Lynne Ramsay also investigates how men that have chosen this type of life for whatever reason always have a humanistic quality. Joe's (Joaquin Phoenix) reality pulse is taking care of his elderly mother, reliving the emotional abuse of his father and the haunting after effects post-traumatic stress from war as one tries to assimilate back into society.
Unlike most films that center around a character of this nature, Joe isn't a hardbody with a six-pack. He looks a little worn and has the body of a regular middle-aged man (which made him a little more realistic to me). Not to mention the fact that every time he attempted to take himself out, an interruption by his mother added a touch of dark humor to an otherwise intense story.
There are elements of the film and Phoenix's portrayal of Joe that are very reminiscent of Robert DeNiro as Travis in Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver. So, it's understandable how he walked away with Best Actor for this film at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.
Ramsay does a great job of keeping the audience engaged from the first frame to the last - never letting us zone out for too long.
Amazon Studios in Los Angeles has an exhibit tribute to the film ONLY during opening weekend. Check out the detail in the flyer below and make your way to a theater near you to check out You Were Never Really Here, which opened on April 6th.