A traumatized veteran, unafraid of violence, tracks down missing girls kidnapped for sex trafficking. When a job goes out of control, he discovers a conspiracy that may be real, a nightmare or both.
2018, 1080p, DTS Master Audio 5.1,Rated R, Aspect Ratio 2.39:1, 1 hour and 29 minutes,
2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Ekaterina Samsonov
Director: Lynne Ramsey
You Were Never Really Here is a polarizing film, but it is still a significant motion picture. Joaquin Phoenix is disturbing and riveting in the role as Joe, a debilitated veteran haunted by events in his youth and from his time in the military.
Director Lynne Ramsey has undoubted talent, best known for her feature films Ratcatcher, Morvern Callar, and We Need to Talk About Kevin. While only 90 minutes in length, the film is intense and often rapidly switches to Joe’s delusions, making for an unsettling experience.
Phoenix gives everything he has as an actor to this difficult and demanding role and he’s on camera for almost every minute of the movie. When his flashbacks occur, we experience them with him, giving viewers the same confusion as the main character about what is reality and what isn’t.
The film echoes Taxi Driver with Robert De Niro in some ways and it was marketed that way, but in I think this film stands alone in its depictions of loneliness and an explosive personality haunted by his past.
There is violence and some rough language, but it seems appropriate for the subject matter and not gratuitous. And there are some shocks, when we don’t know if what we are seeing is a ‘real’ event or psychosis.
The film looks just fine in high definition. The New York streets are gritty, and the lighting is superb. Rain glistens off the wet pavement, and colors are bold.
The 5.1 surround track is subdued, matching the subject matter. There is a room filling ambiance in some scenes in apartments and outdoors. The soundtrack does not call attention to itself, but it serves the story ably.
Viewers of this film would, I think, want to know a lot more about the production, but sadly all we get are trailers for some other movies. A director commentary would have been most welcome.