Wednesday, April 18, 2018

You Were Never Really Here (2018)

Vicious, brutal, engrossing, visceral and sad - You Were Never Really Here is a violent crime vigilante drama by Lynne Ramsay that has more to say within the “Taxi Driver” genre. About a man whose past as a war veteran lends itself to his career as a contract child tractor and predator assassin.

As many will say, You Were Never Really Here is excitingly reminiscent of the film “Taxi Driver”, but ironically more so realistic coming from such a surreal take on mental illness as You Were Never Really Here portrays.

Though the film is exactly as you would imagine based on its trailer, Lynne Ramsay manages to make Joe and his atmosphere gritty, dark, dull and scary, while being reflective, beautiful and hypnotically wandering and melancholy. With an original score setting the tone for outside of Joe’s head and inside Joe’s mind. The film isn’t afraid to portray real relationships and real violence and its consequences but also wants us to understand how Joe got to where he is and the deep psychosis that would riddle a veteran whose become a contract killer. Interestingly so, the moments where we get to understand Joe are disturbing but freeing.

Joaquin Phoenix is eagerly made for this role, immersed in menace struts, childish angry and psychopathic brute force but Joaquin Phoenix being the only one to express the pain beyond the physical pain of a character whose choices are directly influenced from his past of violence and fear.

Lynne Ramsay makes a beautiful looking film from two extremes of gore and enlightenment and makes it work. Understanding the fun of stylized film making without drowning or confusing the reality and plot of a rough, dull, brutal atmosphere within a film.

You Were Never Really Here does everything right visually, audibly and creatively and surprisingly leaves you emotionally present making it definitely one of this years best if not the best.

-          Maurice Jones

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