Saturday, 5 May 2018

You Were Never Really Here


The Scottish film maker Lynne Ramsey has produced a violent and nightmare world in her latest feature You Were Never Really Here. It is a world inhabited by Joe ( Joaquin Phoenix) a traumatised veteran haunted by the fleeting memories of childhood abuse and sickening battle field trauma. He is a lumpy , pain filled mess of a man who earns his daily bread by being a hired gun, a hit man, a killer, but he is a killer who comes home to an elderly frail mother ( nicely played by Judith Roberts) a relationship of his  which has retained its warmth and humanity.
Joe has a death wish. We glimpse his inner pain through little moments of despair, a look over the high rail of a railway station, a revisited childhood moment in a closet where a plastic bag over the head shuts out his father's wrath, but the bond with his mother keeps him going, until his latest " hit" drags him into the dark world of child prostitution.
He is hired by a local senator ( Alex Manette) to retrieve his fifteen year old daughter Nina( Ekaterina  Sansonov)from a high class brothel and in the bloodbath that ensues, Joe has a chance for some sort of redemption amid the chaos.
This is a very violent and disturbing film which under Ramsey's flair for storytelling is at times an overwhelming bit of cinema. The cinematography drags you into Joe's haunted world where a sudden sound drags him back into childhood violence or a stranger on the street suddenly morphs into a terrified refugee. After one particularly bloody shoot out Joe lies down next to a dying assassin and holding hands they whisper the words of the song I've never been to me which is playing on the radio.
It's a surreal but terribly poignant little scene the likes of which are peppered unexpectedly throughout the film
Phoenix is impressive as Joe. He dominates the screen time with his overwhelming sadness and when at last there is a small glimmer of hope for him, he breaks your heart with his subtle, pained performance.
This film is not for the faint hearted, but it's worth a look if you are in the mood .9/10



20 comments:

  1. I gave this a lowly '5' a few weeks ago, wishing it'd been better than I found it. Nevertheless, it's good that you got so much out of it, and I've no doubt that others will too. For what it's worth:-http://raybeard.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/film-you-were-never-really-there.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Off to read your review Raymondo

      Delete
    2. Wish I hadn't been the first to comment, JayGee. I hadn't intended to straight away pull the rug out from under your positive review, though it now looks like others are already making up their own minds whether to see or not anyway, exactly as it should be.

      Delete
  2. Wow ... this sounds like a powerful film!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am faint-hearted John since the farmer died and would never watch a film which had a traumatic effect on me.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I was ill when the film came here and a little not up to seeing it mentally or physically. It sounds like it would suit me now, right this very minute, Saturday morning. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd be interested hearing what you think

      Delete
  5. I guess that would make sense, I don't imagine too many hit men had a happy childhood, I think you would have to be twisted in some way to make a living doing something like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Make you wonder about soldiers

      Delete
    2. I think that is usually a different situation, from what I hear, soldiers usually have an attitude like a police officer wanting to make a difference or young men looking for adventure. They're usually trying to weed out the gun loving nuts because they are too unstable to rely on. I think soldiers are usually decent people and that is why so many get ptsd after seeing combat, because decent are shocked by the reality. I don't think you could compare it to a thug killing people for money.

      Delete
  6. I will definitely try this one. Joaquin Phoenix is a powerful screen presence and fine actor...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not an easy watch but it has merit

      Delete
  7. I think I might be of the “faint hearted” for this one. . . .
    Thank you for the review . . .

    ReplyDelete
  8. This sounds good in theory but I don't know if I'm up for the brutality, although many people are forced to live such lives. Joaquin Phoenix is a magnificent actor, so I'm sure he does his role justice.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Life's too short to spend it watching a movie like this I'm afraid John.. Thank you for the review though.. I always like your reviews. You have quite the talent there for them i think. Hugs! deb

    ReplyDelete
  10. I appreciate the reviews you and Raybeard give, John. It helps to have different perspectives. It's not usually my kind of movie--I prefer to lose myself in scifi fantasy and comedy films, and I enjoy musicals and action flicks. But I also love weird, different, unique movies that are innovative and tell a good story. So I may check this out of curiosity.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I don't usually like this type of movie but your description makes me want to see it. Joaquin Phoenix can be a powerful actor and knows how to give strong, raw emotion in a film. Thanks for the review John.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am with dear Weaver among the faint hearted so will skip this one. A few years ago I might have watched it, but not now.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm a fan of more upbeat films but I'm also a huge fan of Joaquin Phoenix, so will give this one a go.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I might not have viewed it otherwise, but now after reading your review I'm interested.

    ReplyDelete

I love comments and will now try very hard to reply to all of them
Please dont be abusive x