Whether by muscular stride or by hammer strike, Joaquin Phoenix’s Joe thuds his way through a life full of tragedy. A lonely and violent existence, punctuated by checking on his elderly Mother or discovering his next job, would be boring to watch were it not for both Phoenix’s sheer presence and the confidence of a director that isn’t afraid to leave the audience with some work to do.
You Were Never Really Here forces extreme hardship onto Joe’s shoulders, insisting you watch as he struggles against his demons. But somewhere between the choices he makes and the past we’re shown it’s hard not to root for him despite his brutality.
Clocking in under 90 minutes, this is a taut story that could well leave you feeling hungry for more detail. You Were Never Really Here is just the jolt my brain needed. It’s also an excellent reminder of the talented man who I’ll next see portraying the Joker.