For a few years now, movies that have featured Nicolas Cage have been…less than stellar. But you don’t need me to tell you that! Not with movies like “The Wicker Man” and “Stolen”. But the reason I was able to watch them was because of this great guy. He just makes them a hell of a lot more amusing and entertaining. He is also a weird fucking guy. Did you know he ate a live cockroach in a scene in “Vampire’s Kiss”? Seriously, Cage! Ew! But back to the actual topic…a movie featuring Mister Cage in a movie that have gotten people saying he is back in the saddle again. Well, let’s see if this reviewer rides along or just want to kill himself with laughter.
The movie follows 15-year old guy Gary (Tye Sheridan) who is looking to get something out of life…mainly a job so he can make money for his family. So he goes to ex-con Joe (Nicolas Cage) who does forest work. And what that forest work is, that is pretty interesting. They poison old weak trees and cut them down to get place for new healthy trees to be planted there. So Joe hires this kid he has never seen before. And they bond, kind of like father & son. But what gets in the way of that sometimes is Gary’s father Wade (Gary Poulter, R.I.P). There is also this rapey douchebag known as Willie-Russell (Ronnie Gene Blevins) who wants to kind of,,,rape Gary’s mother and sister. And he gets his ass kicked early on in the movie by Gary and Joe…at different points. Another vital point to mention about this movie is how Joe got a lot of built in rage, and when that rage gets released…shit gets real. And throughout the movie a lot of dark and disturbing shit happens. So based on the sort of basic story of the movie, it got a lot of similarities to “Mud”. Not only in the story, but also the irony how the story combined with Tye Sheridan playing the main kid in both movies make them similar. I guess you could say that this is a more dark and disturbing version of “Mud”. The difference however (except for the obvious one of Cage-McConaughey) is that “Mud” got a little more of a focused story. I mean, this movie feels like it’s everywhere it feels like. “Mud” had more of a progressive story…and you noticed that. But in “Joe”…not so much. But overall…pretty good…maybe a little disturbing.
The characters are dark and honestly a bit depressing. The only one I don’t wanna punch in the face is honestly Joe since he is a sincere, kind and just cool guy. I also don’t wanna punch Gary. Why? Because he does everything he do for his family to help out, but his abusive/alcoholic dad is in teh damn way all the time. But the characters like I said…dark, a little depressing…and what I did not mention, layered. They have many layers of their personalities and that is what makes them more complex and watchable than expected. Godo job actors and writer!
The music is like the movie…Dark and Disturbing. And that is what makes it so good. It is a mix of this sort of…southern state style…but also the bone-chilling style that you heard in “Requiem For a Dream”. So in general…the music is really good.
I usually say “something fun about this” in this section…but this time it is not fun. It’s just depressing. The guy who plays the alcoholic father, Gary Poulter played fantastically. And while that sounds all fine and dandy, it’s not. In the movie he plays this alcoholic with a piece of crap home. In real life, he is an alcoholic homeless man. That’s right, director David Gordon Green pulled a homeless man of the streets to play a character that was a more dark version of himself…and he did great. The sad thing is that a few months after they were done filming the movie, he was found dead on the side of the road, in a shallow body of water. Depressed yet? Good. Now to mention something more amusing…Nicolas Cage legitimately picks up a poisonous snake in the movie. Not kidding, watch the thumbnail for this review. Fun fact: Nicolas Cage likes dangerous snakes, they are apparently his friends…I told you he’s fucking weird. Also, this movie looks stunning…not kidding.
Reception for “Joe” was generally good. Rotten Tomatoes currently holds the highest overall score for this with an 83% rating and certified it “Fresh”. Metacritic gave this movie a 73/100 rating (at the time of this review). And since Roger Ebert had passed away about five months before the release of this movie, he has no review for it. But some other dude on his site has a review for it.
imdb.com currently holds the rating of 7,2/10.
So now I have given my opinions on different aspects of “Joe” and I’m ready to give it a score. I am giving this movie the score of 8,94/10. This movie is worth a buy whenever the hell it comes out. It also contains the best best performance I have ever seen from Nicolas Cage. Reason the score is under 9/10 or even 10/10 is because of how dark and disturbing it is at times.
“Joe” is now reviewed.
Rest in peace Gary Poulter…you did a great job in this movie.