Amazon/Film4/BFI/Why Not (Rosa Attab, Pascal Caucheteux, James
Wilson & Lynne Ramsay)
UK/France/USA 2017 (released 2018)
W: Lynne Ramsay [based on the novel by Jonathan
DP: Thomas Townend
Ed: Joe Bini
Mus: Jonny Greenwood
Joaquin Phoenix (Joe), Ekaterina Samsonov (Nina
Votto), Alex Manette (Albert Votto), John Doman (John McCleary), Judith Roberts (Joe's Mother)
To call this film an arthouse version of Taxi Driver wouldn't
be too far off the mark. Both films deal with troubled loners who rescue underage girls from a life of prostitution, but this is vastly different when you scratch beneath the
Joaquin Phoenix won the Best Actor at the 2017 Cannes Film
Festival for his portrayal as Joe, a war veteran suffering from PTSD and painkiller addiction, haunted by his an abusive childhood and working as a hired gun to rescue young girls from similar
fates. He undertakes a job to rescue a senator's daughter, and becomes embroiled in a deeper conspiracy.
It's a film unlike anything else you'll see, with the real
story happening on the dual layer, unveiling Joe's relationship with his mother being the real story of an abusive childhood, with almost everything else being a flight of fantasy happening
within his mind.
It's not a film for everyone, and even if you are a fan of
arthouse films, there's a chance you'll finish the film scratching your head and wondering what the hell you've just watched.
Joaquin Phoenix delivers an excellent performance, while Jonny
Greenwood's jarring music also deserves a lot of credit. The film itself is very much an acquired taste.