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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
Don't wait to see Joker, Joaquin already brought his "A" game!
Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) is a man you hire to track down missing people. Joe is also a skilled ex veteran who is permanently traumatised by his dark past. When Joe works, he walks around with confidence and has no problems using violence in order to get the job done. After getting the job done and collecting his pay, Joe comes home to his elderly mother who he takes care of.
After completing a recent job, Joe is soon offered a new mission from a New York senator. The mission is to find and rescue the Senator's 13 year old daughter who may have been captured.
I enjoyed the fact that Joe as a character is no 007. It's clear that while he is skilled, he's also a man with a horrible past, but in the end... he is very capable for any task. To the audience, we feel Joe does what he does to distracts himself or perhaps occupy to his thoughts from dwelling on his own personal hell.
The film is loaded with tension, but to my surprise it's also all shot beautifully. When Joe is on a mission, we don't do see the smashing and bashing. The director here gives us enough understanding to know what Joe is doing each step of the way without needing to show us every single detail. Other scenes are filmed creatively, allowing us to see Joe's mind and thoughts. These scenes can come across like a dream sequence and viewers might possibly find this slow and boring. Others may lock into what we see of Joe's world and be thankful for how much we get to see of his personal life. For me personally, I loved how creative this film was. Showing different camera angles and Joe's mind in depth only helped me to gain greater understanding of the situation and the characters. Naturally it's these types of moments that also build the suspense!
From a performance level I loved Joaquin Phoenix. While I understand the actor has kept himself busy on screen, I personally enjoyed his work here more than anything else I've seen of him recently. The actress of the 13 year old victim (actress Ekaterina Samsonov) also acts incredibly and provides perfect screen chemistry with Joaquin Phoenix's character. I personably enjoyed seeing these two work together as the story built up.
Overall, I found this film rather surprising in a positive way. The film is dark, gritty and loaded with tension as it progresses, but we also gain a greater understanding to Joe's thoughts and his mind. We are given plenty of creative detail thanks to the awesome work from the director. That being said, I feel many will enjoy the film's creativity while others might start to look at their watch during the film. For me, I loved it, and it was great to see something new and fresh in 2018 with yet another solid performance from actor Joaquin Phoenix. Worth a look!
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