Directed and written by Lynne Ramsay.
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Judith Roberts and Ekaterina Samsonov.
Watched this tonight, so long after that Cannes buzz. But boy did it hold up.
Phoenix may just be the best working Actor in the business today, and Joe cements this status for him.
Ramsay has written the leanest screenplay imaginable, without a single wasted second, making for unmissable, compelling viewing. She directs it with such vigour and boldness. How often do we get to see such a tight, thought provoking thriller like this at the cinema?
The editing, alongside the screenplay, give you a tantalising amount of plot to go off, without ever force feeding you the story. There’s so much left in the tapestry of Joe’s story that we don’t get overplayed with, it gives Phoenix the freedom to excel, and gives the audience enough to fill in the blanks. Many a more high profile director would not trust the audience in this way. For this reason alone, thank God for Lynne Ramsay.
Jonny Greenwood’s Score is haunting, enhanced by the (seemingly) flatter notes which beautifully mirrors Joe himself. The soundtrack then completely throws in a curve ball of light, just to add to the chilling bleakness we experience. The sound design as well blends itself perfectly into the seams of the film.
Samsonov gives a killer breakout performance. It isn’t hugely showy, but boy is it powerful. Judith Roberts adds some real moments of light through the darkness. But it’s Phoenix who dominates from scene one, and never loses grip.
Overall, this is edge of your seat, breath-takingly stunning cinema that will be relentless in gripping hold of my mind for days, weeks…probably the rest of the year.
It’s not very good.
Typical Ramsay style over substance.