Spellbinding Southern tale from all involved. (by Ser_Stephen_Seaworth)
There is probably no actor today as unique or vibrantly energetic in his performances as Nicolas Cage. I have claimed before that Cage is perhaps the greatest actor with the worst resume in cinema history. But even though he's got a backlog of rather unsavory films, Cage has never failed to go for broke, ripping into each and every role with great gusto. However, the heir apparent to Christopher Walken has been lambasted as a washed-up actor these last ten years, with most people seemingly overlooking the fact that Cage has given some standout turns since his heyday his 2009 turn in <more>
"The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans" should have netted him an Oscar nod, for instance .His latest outing pairs him with another once-promising figure: David Gordon Green, who after a handful of thrilling debut films seemed to go off the deep end, following riveting films like "George Washington" and the underrated "Undertow" with the execrable "comedies" "Your Highness" and "The Sitter". However, Green seems to be returning to his roots with "Joe", an adaptation of Larry Brown's down-and-dirty Southern Gothic tale of a hard-luck ex-con who crosses paths with a teenager with a bad home life. Cage plays against Tye Sheridan, the stoic youth who starred in "Mud" last year, and if anyone thinks that his casting makes this film a carbon-copy of Jeff Nichols's homage to Mark Twain, "Joe" will shatter your notions before too long. It's got a much bleaker edge to it.Cage plays Joe Ransom, a backwoods wreck of a man who runs a gabby gang of laborers who semi-illicitly poison trees for a lumber company. He's a raw, taciturn sort, driving through his rural community in a beaten-down truck stuffed with his employees while chain-smoking and seemingly drowning out the chatter of his buddies. Cage, who is known for being an explosive presence in his films, keeps the lid pretty tight on the pot here, yet there are moments when he lets the steam sing out. It's clear Joe's temper has gotten him in hot water in the past, as seen when a past victim Ronnie Gene Blevins takes a shot at him only fifteen minutes into the film. Joe's got his demons, for sure.So too does fifteen-year-old Gary Jones Sheridan , who drifts into town with his silent sister, laconic mother, and a true example of the tragedy of the Deep South in the form of his father, Wade. Played by Gary Poulter, Wade is a strutter, a wannabe tough guy held together by drink but who can't even hold down a job for a day, and he takes out his boozed-up rage on his family. Wanting to provide for his family as well as try and get his old man back off the skids, Gary approaches Joe for a job. The boy proves his worth as a hard worker, eventually drawing him closer to Joe himself, who takes pity on the kid's home life. But the closer the two get, the more things start to get complicated. Joe's rage is starting to cycle back up, and Wade's bitterness is fueling his own violent tendencies that start to show in his own son at times.What David Gordon Green strives for with "Joe" is a sense of pervading realism, and so he populated his film with first-time local talent rather than seeking Hollywood professionals. Almost every single speaking part save for Cage and Sheridan comes from people that lived in and around the area they shot the film. In particular, Gary Poulter was a homeless drifter with a checkered past who crossed paths with Green. Poulter brings a pathetic, harrowing realism to the part; he's lived this life and he seemed like a man who knew little else. Even when Wade lets his fists fly, you can't help but feel pity for the gnarled old bastard, because Poulter brought an almost beautiful complexity to the role. Poulter died soon after completing filming, having drowned due to alcohol poisoning; the tragedy of his life colors another facet in the character that enriches his performance.Cage and Sheridan themselves are no slouches in this film, either. Sheridan is proving to be quite the young talent, and I wouldn't hesitate in calling him one of the best actors in his age group. He holds his own against Cage, and the two play off of each other marvelously, perhaps even more effortlessly than Sheridan did against Matthew McConaughey. He'll do great things in the coming years for sure. And Cage proves here that one should never underestimate him; his volatility and effortless charm make Joe a compulsively engaging protagonist while at the same time emphasizing that he is not the man he could be, should be.Early in the film's runtime, Joe's hatchet crew stumbles upon a copperhead. That snake is just like the picture itself: sleek and dangerous, with a poisonous bite that could spell fever into an unwary film-goer. David Gordon Green certainly captured Larry Brown's whiskey-soaked novel with great skill; if he could get around to tackling the novel's even better sequel, "Fay", that'd be even better.
Nicolas Cage reminded me of what a great actor he can be. (by lunchboxwanderer)
I'd forgotten how much talent Nicolas Cage has. Watching this movie brought back memories of what great work he did when he was younger.Films like 'Raising Arizona' and 'Peggie Sue Got Married' or 'Moonstruck' from his early career.I like his work lately in the films 'Lord of War,' 'Ghost Rider, 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' to name a few.However, until now, I've had a hard time shaking the image of his mid to late 90s and early 2000s blockbusters. Clearly, an actor has to make the huge score when they're hot. But for some reason I <more>
stopped taking him seriously.'Joe' is such a fabulous production. It's so real. Most of the characters are clearly not actors. You can tell they're from Louisiana and they've done back breaking work their whole lives. No professional could portray this as effectively as these men did.I have to hand it to the producers and director for assembling this. It's even more real than 'True Detective' in it's earthiness.Back to Cage. The way he acted, his character was fascinating and true to life. He's an unlikely hero, like most are in real life. Flawed, pained, but with an intense genetic code that abhors injustice. His struggle drives him to fight for victims of injustice. Though he knows the outcome of his urges may have negative consequences, such as incarceration or even death, he can't fight who he is.He's a man that on the surface wants "to go along to get along" but loses the battle with his internal dialogue. This emotional conflict causes him to suffer a deep and chronic emotional pain. It's why he drowns himself in alcohol and hookers. If you notice, he pays the Madame but only kisses and hugs her. That was his tonic when he had the urge to kill. It quelled him. Unfortunately for Joe, this "pill" had it's limits.It illustrates his avoidance of intimacy. He's scared of getting too close to anybody for fear of having his love object taken away.Of course, like any reluctant hero and latent optimist, he ventures in again. He can't keep himself from caring about those that are vulnerable and value the rigid standards he lives by.For him, this is a purity. Joe the character, a victim of his own machinations, wanted to rescue the innocent souls. Keep them from falling off the path he had long ago. His heroic persona manifested itself in his willingness to give his life, in the hope an uncorrupted soul would be able to overcome the demons that drove him to such desperation and ultimately expiration.Joe was an angel in every sense of the word.He left the world he lived in a better place.'Joe' is a 10.
Fittingly, the movie begins with Joe going around chopping the poison into all the old trees; he "doesn't know what the man will do with the lot once it's finished"...."but he'll let him sort it out". Then...the movie ends with Joe killing all the old weak and purely evil people in the town. I guess he wants to let God sort them out and do what he will with them. ; You get inserted right into this cinematic reality within seconds of the opening credits. Descriptive words that would suit this little community: dirty, dingy, tattered, desperate, dusty, <more>
liquored-up, violent, tough etc. The guy is a great actor, has he won an award yet? He plays the part perfect. The other cast is great. The kid from Mud, he is a good inclusion. That guy with the scar on his face; man one look at his face and you see pure desolation. I don't know where they found that guy but he looks absolutely sadistic.The first half hour features a team of blacks killing trees, an old lady with Mexicans trying to skin a deer lulz, and him getting shot with a shotgun in the chest but that doesn't phase him. Then the Dad beats the life out of that other Drunk with a rusty piece of metal and steals his wine. That was a disturbing scene.Ultimately, it all goes to hell in the end, as you would expect, and the right people die. Joe ends up being a sort of guardian angel that cleans up the mess that is this dirty town.I went through a windshield and I don't give a ! that guy's hilarious Great acting and a good view.
Art's Answer to the Inundation of BS (by RealDuality)
Joe is a masterful work that imbues you to it through its realism. It is a perfect movie for Nicolas Cage to be in at this point in his career. While he has continued to put in world class performances and appear in uniquely great films, the actor has developed a reputation as a set-up joke. The interesting part is that there is no true punch line. He is one of the world's supreme artistic talents and he does more serious work than possibly any other movie star. With this culture of ignorance in the Information Age persisting fed by the corporate media, Cage has appeared in one of his <more>
best films yet, and in one that brings humanity down to its root nature.Joe is a blue collar boss doing questionable work in the South who takes a teenage boy, Gary, that is at a pivotal point in his life under his wing. The kid's real father, Wade, is a disturbed alcoholic. Joe is not a perfect man himself, but he gives off the feeling that he wants to do right. The movie is a character study of him, and it is delivered in a type of full force by David Gordon Green and Nicolas Cage that is rare today.It is not the restrained performance that the critics have described. Cage is in a fit the entire time. What the "professionals" are seeing is how DGG was able to make the moments seem almost like a documentary. While there is some strong personality being displayed, it is done in a way that is truthful to human nature. There is a real duality to all the characters. Joe brings death and life. Gary honors his family and judges them. Wade commits cruelty and shows his strong desire for empathy. The "restraint" isn't done by Cage, but Joe. He is working to keep himself from emerging under the pressure of a backwards country. Cage is able to show that Joe isn't being two different people, but one man forced to go against his heart if he wants to survive, in a measured performance. He strikes a rhythm with his role and it combined with the entertainment of a drama that feels real, makes the movie go at a nice pace.All the characters struggle against the system that has also perpetuated the falsehoods about the star leading the project, though it is best embodied by Cage's Joe. There is his fisticuffs back and forward with those who claim to work for justice, but an even better example is his job, which seems necessary but is criminal. The trains can't be stopped and their incessant movement brings about reactive forces in the people it affects.Tye Sheridan does a remarkable job as Gary, however it is Gary Poulter's execution of Wade, or G-Daawg, that along with Cage's takes the film up a notch. His sullen moments where he stares down another character are deeply moving despite the dark nature of the person he is playing. It is a legendary performance, that will long be remembered.The Old Media will tell you that this is a comeback for both Cage and DGG, but don't let them brainwash you. Most people just want to give everything lip now, thinking that this endless determination makes them a higher being, and the system needs to feed on its own BS borne out of greed's simplicity. Truth isn't found there. In Joe, it is. Nicolas Cage has been roundly criticized since winning his Oscar for taking action and fantasy roles as well as playing "dark" and "unrelatable" characters, but he is simply being himself. He has always had a taste for the peculiar. If he were to do the projects "we" wanted rather than the ones he did, then he wouldn't be a true artist, and we would not have the profound work that we find in this film, with a character needing to do the "wrong" thing to be the good person others think he is. Cage was made to play Joe, and DGG, who has received similar criticisms for his "naughtiness," was made to direct him. They have both stayed themselves, and therefore have a better understanding of what is real. That this particular movie has come at this point in both their filmographies, is poetic. It is a reminder to the diseased audience not to let the system think for you both in terms of the story and who is telling it. For, it gives a picture of a backwards society that diminishes reality where culminating incidents brought by suffered individuals show the truth. Here you will find a bit of realism existing in a delusional world.9.5/10
The poison is not in the bottle, it has always been in our hearts (by pcrawake)
'An ex-con, who is the unlikeliest of role models, meets a 15-year-old boy and is faced with the choice of redemption or ruin.'It is hard to describe life. Stories about mermaids fighting wars in different galaxies, that is easy to describe; but writing about life, sometimes all you can say is, 'It's about life'Joe is a story about a place, a place most people might not be able to conceive: where things are dying, where people survive off liquor and cigarettes, where those who are supposed to love us drive knives into our backs.Joe Nicholas Cage runs a small foresting <more>
outfit poisoning weak trees so the land can be replanted with sturdy pine. A troubled life, past, Joe moves from bottle to bottle and day to day, but when he gives a young man named Gary Tye Sheridan star of the movie 'Mud' a job, the bond they form brings direction into each of their lives. Joe is compelled to help Gary out of the pit dug by his drunk father.Director David Gordon Green of Prince Avalanche and Snow Angels and Pineapple Express can pretty much cut on all sides of drama. I think the mark of a great Director is you hardly notice he is there. Like Prince Avalance and Snow Angels, the movie's scenes blended so well with the story and characters.Nicolas Cage is good when he is bad and good when he is good, so, no point in dwelling on him. It's worth watching this movie just to see him.Tye Sheridan hasn't been acting long, but god damn, he has been in some good movies and he showed a lot of range in this flick, portraying an abused and scared and strong young man.If you know David Gordon Green, you don't need convincing to see this movie. If you like Cage or Sheridan, you probably will check it out to see them.Green likes to show certain things: scenes that might not be a part of the story, but add so much to the story in general, the way a writer might prelude a chapter by describing something connected to, but not in line with the characters. Joe has a feel, you can sense it and I was getting a little shaky half way through.I know places and people, some that might pass for the world in 'Joe'. I have seen people drink themselves evil. I have seen young people fall apart because of those around them. But, I guess there is always the chance of coming out, and surviving, if you keep up the fight.From an artistic standpoint, there were some plot elements and character developments I didn't think were totally needed. They do however drive the story, which seemed to be their purpose, so I can accept them.in the end, Joe is a movie about people. I finished this film, thinking, 'There are people out there suffering and I can do something to help them.'
I couldn't help but notice how much J-O-E is similar or at least as simple as to a D-O-G. The film is more than just a glimpse into the life of a man who does know how to live, but I was wondering if he served more as a metaphor for everyone of us as a part of the human race who live better when we're on a leash. Nicolas Cage plays the title character as a man who can smile and have fun, but lives off the leash. He'd be a good dog to the extent that he will always do the right thing. Just don't mess with him. Or his friends. "Joe" has been the movie event of the <more>
festival. It plays a dramatic chord through notes of laughter and some extreme intensity seriously, of "Gravity" caliber . The violence is strong the 60-year-old man next to me had to look away during one scene in particular , and the acting is subtle realistic . Nic Cage, in his conversation at the SXSW Film Festival, spoke about his wife telling him that this role was as close as he's gotten to his real persona. I found it more along the lines of "Leaving Las Vegas." If you're reading that right, you should be expecting Nic Cage do start doing lower-budget movies this was made for $6 Million, I believe . This is what he wants to do now I quote him personally , and I believe this could be the start of a sustainable career toward what we might come to know as a legacy. Nicolas Cage, you should know, is the ideal movie star. He knows how to live, and he knows how to be kind. This is his return to form while there may be a *wink* or two in this film at what he's known as on this wild thing called the "internet." Still, he's not really like any other movie star, and there will never be anyone known as "the next Nicolas Cage." He is truly one-of-a-kind. As is this film. "Joe" is a simple story of simple people. There are many minor characters who just seem to exist in this world. There is one scene of him looking over to see a couple in a jeep next to him. I felt this might have been out of place, although the two made eye contact and it granted a laugh from the audience. What I wanted was this scene to be a metaphor for was a life Joe could have had. He doesn't like being messed with, especially when nobody has a reason to mess with him. He doesn't give them one, but when he fights back at them, the consequences are played out throughout the film. The editing lets the actors breath and the music lets the atmosphere live. Shot around Austin, an audience member that same 60-year-old man told me that the director, David Gordon Green Pineapple Express , grabbed a few people off a bus, and gave them starring roles. They serve as decay of human beings. We're shown the lowest of the low, and it will make you angry to see what people are capable of doing to each other. I don't believe people are happier on a leash. When we're told what to do, we may be rewarded with food, but at the end of the day, it's the connection to each other that makes us want to wake up again. Dogs play a major role in this film to the extent that one serves as a major character. In the final moments No spoiler, I promise , there is a tear-jerking scene that lets you know that we can find happiness and peace. We see the dog in the front seat, happy with it's tongue out for the first time in the film, as opposed to the brute-ready-to-fight we've come to know in the back of Joe's truck. All we need in life is to be raised well. On that note, Tye Sheridan's from "Mud" 2012 with Matthew McConaughey part is played tough, but his deadbeat abusive father has become such a bad influence, and Gary is smart enough to know not to follow in his footsteps. This film was nearly perfect, but sadly still not made for everyone. I hope, when it's finally released worldwide to audiences everywhere, I'm wrong about that, and audiences see it. It's an important film, as well as very entertaining.
My next review is for what is probably the weirdest film I saw at TIFF. Joe stars Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan, and has a very similar concept to that as Mud. Basically a 15 year old boy movies to a small Texas town with his abusive father where he makes new friends and new enemies. I'll start with what I liked about the movie. The directing was great, and so was the cinematography. There were many beautiful shots and the clarity of each image was stunning. Also, the acting was really good. Nicolas Cage played a very unique character named Joe, and Tye Sheridan was perfect as his younger <more>
companion. Even the bad guys played their roles with a lot of depth. I also thought The writer and director did a good job at creating the universe. It was very dark, disturbing, and not one character felt like they weren't needed or were out of place. The dark and disturbing universe creating in the movie was also what I had a problem with. There was so much killing, and sex, and drugs, and violence in the movie that sometimes it was out of place. It starts with a father beating his son, and ends with the attempted gang-rape of a 15 year old girl, multiple shooting related deaths, and a suicide. The amount of violence that fills the rest of the two hours is just shocking. I also found it was a lot weaker than Mud in one important aspect; it didn't explore as many themes or have a big moral. Sitting here right now, I can't think of anything important the movie had to say.At least the movie is very well directed, written, and created, despite having many unnecessary scenes. The acting is what really saves the movie though, and because of that I'll rate the film 7.6/10 stars.
The best drama of 2014 so far (by estebangonzalez10)
"You pretend to be asleep, but I know you'd cry if I said the wrong thing."Joe is a powerful and emotional drama that despite being slow grips you thanks to an intense realism and some excellent performances. Many have compared this to last year's MUD perhaps because teenager Tye Sheridan is in both films and they happen to take place in southern America dealing with some trashy characters. I really felt this film was more similar to Jennifer Lawrence's Winter's Bone in mood and tone, since MUD had an underlying romantic theme which this film lacks and you have two <more>
young characters that have to face great obstacles in order to sustain their families. With his performance in Joe, Tye Sheridan, has acquired quite an impressive resume despite his young age adding this performance to his work in MUD and The Tree of Life. As the title suggests however, the film benefits from a great lead performance from Cage who plays Joe, a man with a troubled past who gets a chance at redemption when he meets this young kid and becomes a sort of role model for him. This is one of Nicolas Cage's top 5 performances and a return to form for the actor that I grew up loving in the 90's. Perhaps my favorite performance in the film comes from newcomer, Gary Poulter, who plays the abusive alcoholic father. I can't think of a more horrifying villain than the character he portrays in Joe. Director, David Gordon Green, has also had a return to form after his disappointing turns in the comedies The Sitter and Your Highness. He is a very versatile director who received a lot of critical acclaim from his early small indies, George Washington and All the Real Girls, and then he also had success with his first stoner comedy, Pineapple Express. You would never imagine Joe was directed by the same person considering this is such a dark emotional drama.Joe takes place in the wild South lands of Mississippi where we meet Joe Ransom Nicolas Cage , an ex-con and heavy drinker who is trying to lay low working as a lumberjack. His life takes a turn when he meets a young 15 year old named Gary Tye Sheridan who comes to him looking for a job. Gary is the oldest son of a homeless family who suffers abuse from his alcoholic father, Wade Gary Poulter . Wade spends all the money in booze and beats Gary on a regular basis. Joe's protective instincts come to play when he takes a liking for Joe who he tries to help. Despite having a lot of friends in the small local town, Joe also has made some enemies due to his heavy drinking and constant trouble with the law, and despite how much he tries to restrain himself from hurting others, seeing Gary being constantly abused awakens his anger towards his abusive father.The characters in this film have a lot of depth and the realism with which they are portrayed by the actors is shocking at times. Sheridan gives a similar performance as that of Lawrence in Winter's Bone, Nicolas Cage is outstanding as well in his restrained role, and Poulter is so terrifying that he makes everyone's father look like a saint. The film has a haunting atmosphere and the drama is so rich that it is hard to remain emotionally detached to the story. It is a powerful and honest drama, one of the best from 2014. It's one of those rare emotional character studies that doesn't feel manipulative and never hits a false note. Cage reminds us why he was such a success in the past and I'm glad to see him back in form after a terrible batch of films.
A desperate film about anger management, poverty, family abuse, cruelty (by gradyharp)
Director David Gordon Green is known for Pineapple Express 2008 , All the Real Girls 2003 and George Washington 2000 and makes it his practice to cast his movie extras from locals in the area in which he is shooting his films. In Austin, Texas he found a street person - Gary Poulter - who plays a significant role in this film, Two months after the film was completed Pouter was found dead on the streets of Austin. That sets a tone for the film - very dark, little in the way of redemptive force, but an opportunity for Nicholas Cage and Tye Sheridan to prove their acting chops.Joe Ransom <more>
Nicholas Cage drops the bottles as quickly as he burned his life. Joe is perhaps irresponsible, but is no less a hard worker. He manages a work team of black men who admire him in a forest where his task is to poison trees so that an outside contractor and come in and rid the woods of bad trees and plant good ones there is a fine line of parallel to the story here . Joe encounters Gary Tye Sheridan , a boy of 15 years, and his father, Wade aka G-Daawg Gary Poulter , an alcoholic good-for-nothing. For Gary, all is not lost; there is still time for him to seek the right path, to escape from the control of damaging his father yet still support his mute sister and pathetic helpless mother. Joe struggles with his past as an ex-con, his alcoholism, his dependency on female sex workers, and attempting of manage his short-fused anger that gets him into trouble all too frequently. Joe takes on Gary, gives him work, lets him use his truck, and in general protects Gary from harm. A town bully/creep Willie-Russell Ronnie Gene Blevins has endured abuse from Joe and is stalking him and eventually Gary and G-Dwaag in a revenge twist. How Joe deals with coping with redemption or ruin plays out in the final scenes of this film.The film is unrelentingly dark, both in camera action and in storyline. The only thing that keeps is afloat is the sensitivity of the bilaterally desperately needy relationship between Cage and Sheridan - and they make us care about them.