Director David Gordon Green's latest atmospheric tale of Southern darkness and masculine angst.
"What's the point in any of it?" asks hulking, hot-headed ex-con Joe Ransom (Nicolas Cage), years of tough Mississippi living taking their toll. To Joe's daily routine of tree clearing bookended by alcohol and aggression, only 15-year-old Gary (Tye Sheridan, in a Venice Film Festival award-winning performance) offers an antidote. An uncertain rapport sprouts when the vulnerable teen crosses Joe's path, looking for work but finding emotional solace.
The taste of whiskey and the haze of smoke infuses every frame of Green's grittily lyrical follow-up to 2013 MIFF hit Prince Avalanche; but it is the resurgent pairing of the filmmaker with Cage – both in career-best form – that enlivens Joe's neo-Western portrait of poverty and violence.
Based on the novel of the same name by Larry Brown and crafted as a compelling character piece, Joe is lent an air of authenticity through its use of local, genuinely marginalised, non-actors in the supporting cast.
"Joe serves up a bloody cut of Southern Gothic and a bullish portrait of masculinity in crisis, perfectly embodied by Nicolas Cage." – The Guardian