Mini Review: You Were Never Really Here
You can imagine Joaquin Phoenix as a coldblooded killer, right? How has it taken this long to cast him as such? Though the bizarre and unique thriller You Were Never Really Here has on-trend sex abuse scandals and PTSD, it also focuses on giant, paralyzing feelings of remorse, though maybe not from the characters you feel should be wringing their hands. Director Lynne Ramsay (We Need to Talk About Kevin) adapts Jonathan Ames’ (Bored To Death) dark novella with amazing results, depending on your mood.
Phoenix’s Joe is a contract killer who takes on a job he’s not emotionally ready for, and we enter his mind. Not a tidy place to visit. In previous roles, Joaquin Phoenix has been alternately skinny, beardy, sometimes handsome – here he is big, messy and sad. Joe is in full on breakdown mode. He giggles, he collapses, he’s a tough guy, all edited sharply to keep you on edge as he goes about his dirty business, whether he wants to or not.
See it with no expectations of a typical gangster movie, and you’re in for a treat, though an intense one. If you can’t tolerate even a little bit o’Phoenix, or violence, then, hard pass. But otherwise, go.