A traumatized veteran, unafraid of violence, tracks down missing girls for a living. When a job spins out of control, Joe's nightmares overtake him as a conspiracy is uncovered leading to what may be his death trip or his awakening.
Balancing between feverish dreamlike hallucinations of a tormented past and a grim disoriented reality, the grizzled Joe--a traumatised Gulf War veteran and now an unflinching hired gun who lives with his frail elderly mother--has just finished yet another successful job. With an infernal reputation of being a brutal man of results, the specialised in recovering missing teens enforcer will embark on a blood-drenched rescue mission, when Nina, the innocent 13-year-old daughter of an ambitious New York senator, never returns home. But amidst half-baked leads and a desperate desire to shake off his shoulders the heavy burden of a personal hell, Joe's frenzied plummet into the depths of Tartarus is inevitable, and every step Joe takes to flee the pain, brings him closer to the horrors of insanity. In the end, what is real, and what is a dream? Can there be a new chapter in Joe's life when he keeps running around in circles?Written by
Story is about the life of two abused and tortured souls
The story is about the life of two abused and tortured souls revealed from opposite ages and genders. Both Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) and Ekaterina Samsonov character have been victimized by society. Joe bares the physical scars by his abusive father who wanted him to become a straight male by beating his homosexual preference out of him. Then there is Ekaterina who has been sold as an underage sex slave to the wealthy and powerful sexual deviants such as top politicians. Joe is still trapped by the mental cell his father has left him with. He takes on "manly" jobs such as a hired gun to support himself and his elderly Alzheimer afflicted mother who is completely unaware of what he does for a living.
Joe is eventually hired by a wealthy man to find his kidnapped daughter and bring her back. But a twist in the film reveals he wasn't aware of the total circumstances behind her kidnapping. He finds himself being hunted.
Joaquin Phoenix does what he always does best. He becomes the character to the point it no longer feels like we are watching an actor play a role in a film. He really wraps himself up in the character and provides a fabulous performance. He does the subtle nuances of a man in strong conflict with his himself and the image his father had tried to project on him. The film does have a slow pace, but that is intentional. Phoenix takes his time to develop the character very well on screen. This is his hallmark and what makes his film so great. He puts in the hard work to make us understand Joe. Unfortunately, many of today's instant gratification generation don't have the patience to experience real storytelling. I wish more actors took this art form to the heights that Joaquin Phoenix does. He is truly one of the best actors in Hollywood.
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