Review for You Were Never Really Here
Joe is a hired gun. A man troubled by his past, but a gun for hire for some of the worst jobs. In between jobs he looks after his elderly mother and reflects on his grim past. His latest job sees him trying to rescue a young girl, but when the truth unravels it opens up a storm of violence that even Joe's trusty hammer may not be able to weather
You Were Never Really Here is this generation's Taxi Driver. This is not hyperbole and this film could almost be a sequel of what might have happened if Travis Bickle had carried on after rescuing Iris. His scenes of violence are very reminiscent of Bickle storming the brothel and seeing the violence through CCTV rather than crazy quick cut OTT carnage like the Taken films.
In a way, that is what makes this film so interesting is that (despite only being about an hour and a half) the film takes its time. We are not rushed with jump-cut scenes of carnage, but we get to know the character of Joe, glimpses of his past, what he does day to day and this is all interwoven around the plot and makes a much more enjoyable film. I found myself not wanting it to end and the fact that they fake me out with the ending is just fabulous and I would say one of the best and most satisfying endings I have seen in a long time.
I am surprised that this film did not get the world wide spread acclaim and Oscars it seemed destined for. It won for Best Screenplay and Phoenix for Best Actor at Cannes, but then there was nothing else. Possibly the film just wasn't seen enough or distributed properly, but I am still stunned at the lack of awards for this film. Phoenix's performance is one of the best of his career and should have easily picked him up a nomination at least. It is a very calm and calculated role that suits him perfectly.
Director/Writer Lynne Ramsay who brought us the equally devastating We Need To Talk About Kevin has proven with that film and this that she is the person to get to adapt a book to screen. I have never read Jonathan Ames original novel, but I am going to see if I can find it now as it would be interesting to see how close Ramsay got to the plot and the characters. She creates a marvellous film, from the editing, to the look, to the music provided by Radiohead's Johnny Greenwood, which is a fabulous moody soundtrack.
The only extra is what I thought was going to be a book to film comparison, but isn't and this is such a shame. I was not expecting much, but I did expect a little more than this to explain why people (myself included here) have been gushing praise on this wonderful film. Instead we get a minute (no joke) literally sixty-two seconds of the Director saying she loved the book and the writer of the book saying about what type of book it is. It is basically a trailer, but not even a good one. When I saw the title 'From Book To Film' I thought it would be a look at how the film differs or how Ramsay went through adapting, thoughts from the cast, the original writer, but nope. Nothing. This is such a shame.
You Were Never Really Here is a remarkable film and one that I think everyone should watch. It is dark enough to make you feel uneasy, but not too dark to be unwatchable. It is a perfect movie and one that I am glad was really here.