6.9/10
45,589
150 user 176 critic

Joe (2013)

Trailer
2:27 | Trailer
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.

Director:

David Gordon Green

Writers:

Gary Hawkins, Larry Brown (based on the novel by)
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4,213 ( 964)
4 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicolas Cage ... Joe
Tye Sheridan ... Gary
Gary Poulter ... Wade a.k.a. G-Daawg
Ronnie Gene Blevins ... Willie-Russell
Adriene Mishler ... Connie
Brian Mays Brian Mays ... Junior (as Brian D. Mays)
Aj Wilson McPhaul ... Earl (as A.J. Wilson McPhaul)
Sue Rock ... Merle
Heather Kafka ... Lacy
Brenda Isaacs Booth ... Mother (as Brenda Isaacs-Booth)
Anna Niemtschk Anna Niemtschk ... Dorothy
Elbert Hill III ... Shorty (as Elbert Evan Hill III)
Milton Fountain Milton Fountain ... Milton
Roderick L. Polk Roderick L. Polk ... Roscoe
Aaron Spivey-Sorrells ... Sammy
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Storyline

In order to provide for his destitute family of drifters, a likable, sincere, able-bodied 15-year-old boy comes to hire on among a burned-out ex-con's group of aging forest laborers. As the man becomes more and more aware of the boy's abusive home life, his deeply buried humanity is roused. Drinking and smoking incessantly to remain detached from his volatile temper, he finally takes the matter into his own hands - come what may - when the boy's alcoholic father finally goes too far. Written by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, disturbing material, language and some strong sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Both actors Nicolas Cage & Tye Sheridan have starred in Marvel Comics films. Cage starred as Johnny Blaze / Ghost Rider in Ghost Rider (2007) and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011). Sheridan starred as Scott Summers / Cyclops in X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) and X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019). See more »

Goofs

When Joe and Gary are looking for the dog, Gary climbs into the driver's seat of the truck. When they arrive, Joe is driving. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Gary: Hey, you old man, you look at me. I got som'in' to say to you. Every time we land someplace new, you say it's gonna be different, but it ain't. You mess up... a lot... then you leave a mess for me and Momma and Dorothy to clean up, and that ain't right. That's all I'm sayin'. Hell, I do what I gotta do. You do whatever the hell you want - whatever you can get away with. You're just a... selfish old drunk. Yeah, that's what you is. Yeah, this place is gonna be after us. Hell, ...
[...]
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Connections

References Ghostbusters (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Kommunion (Alternate Version)
(uncredited)
Written by Miles Whittaker & Sean Canty
Produced by Miles Whittaker & Sean Canty
Performed by Demdike Stare
Courtesy of Modern Love
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User Reviews

 
A Refreshing, Unsentimental Portrayal of Southern Americana

There's a quote about midway through David Gordon Green's Joe that I believe is crucial to understanding the film's thematic core. Forgive me if I'm paraphrasing but it goes something like 'These men have no more frontiers'. The line is in reference to the men Joe works with and in many ways applies to the titular character himself. Joe is a man that knows he is stuck; he has no where to go because his surroundings can't let him. Even though he thinks five steps ahead of the average man it is only delaying the inevitable. The conflict of the story however is not whether or not Joe lives but if he can save the future of a promising child, named Gary.

Joe is the kind of film that proves that a small story can be much more meaningful than a larger one. This kind of unsentimental character piece needs a small tight focus so all of the nuances of said characters shines through. Thankfully David Gordon Green understands this; his approach to directing the film is subtle and organic, allowing the actors to shine first and foremost. There are some understated flourishes and several instances of visual poetry but for the most part Green keeps things taut and unsentimental. He wants the audience to be immersed in the volatile world Gary and Joe inhabit.

And what a convincing world it is. Green's depiction of Southern lower class Americana is unsentimental, austere and straightforward. The film doesn't feel the need to overemphasize aspects of these characters live. Nothing is glamorized, nothing romanticized; the film aims for a hard hitting depiction of the character's world which only serves to further highlight the core conflict. Green understands that the audience needs to understand how close Gary and his sister are to harm and in doing so has crafted a thoroughly realized community teeming with details and nuances.

But the real centerpiece of the film is it's acting; three performances in particular stick out. Cage's Joe, Sheridan's Gary and Gary Poulter's Wade. Cage's depiction of Joe is not quite the subdued performance many critics made it out to be. Instead it is a silent colossus of a performance. One of Cage's biggest strengths as an actor is the ability to convey a character's thought process without saying a word. He makes a perfect fit for Joe; a man who is always moving, thinking, never given to slowing down. He is a frank straightforward man and Cage does the character justice. Equally excellent is Sheridan's Gary. Coming off his sterling performance in Mud, Sheridan proves himself one of the most promising actors of the younger generation. He brings balances both the character's more mature and intelligent feelings and ambitions with a raw, primal rage that surfaces in a truly explosive manner. Finally we have Gary Poulter, the dark horse of this movie. A non-actor Poulter was hired due to his similarity to the character he was portraying. And boy does he nail it. Seething with a kind of disheveled rage, imbued with a selfish nostalgic anger for a time he had a future; Wade is a truly terrifying character only made more terrifying by Poulter's raw, thoroughly convincing performance. If Joe is symbolizes a man in societal stagnation, Wade is that stagnation taken to it's logical, horrific end.

Joe is a gritty, hard movie about gritty hard people but it's also intelligent, heartfelt and riveting from the first frame to the last. It solidifies the comeback for David Gordon Green as a unique presence in American cinema and hopefully is a sign that Cage will do more of these kinds of austere, gripping character pieces more often in the future.

9/10


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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 April 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Joe See more »

Filming Locations:

Austin, Texas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$105,881, 13 April 2014

Gross USA:

$373,375

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,431,443
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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