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
David Gordon Green often casts locals in his movies. Gary Poulter was a homeless man in Austin. Poulter died on the streets of Austin on Feb. 19, 2013, 2 months after filming ended. See more »
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 »
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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A desperate film about anger management, poverty, family abuse, cruelty
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 (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.
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