You Were Never Really Here (2017)
I was a little apprehensive about seeing this movie. It appeared like it would be either really good or just really bad. I have enjoyed most of Joaquin Phoenix’s work, so I thought I would give You Were Never Really Here a shot.
The film is about a hit man who gets in over his head when he is hired to rescue a young girl from a sex slave ring, and make the people involved suffer for what they have done to her.
The movie was directed by Lynne Ramsay and the noteworthy cast includes Joaquin Phoenix, Judith Roberts, John Doman, Alex Manette, Ekaterina Samsonov, and Alessandro Nivola.
You Were Never Really Here is unflinching and unplugged. The film does not pull any punches. The subject matter is as dark as it gets. This movie is certainly not for everyone. The movie was unique. The way that it was filmed raised the level of intensity. The soundtrack and natural background noise in the movie really set the gritty tone. It was rough at times, but it was very necessary to tell the story.
Phoenix is ruthless and almost robotic. It is a cold, hard, Oscar-worthy performance. He throws everything into his character and continues to reveal to us his wide range of talent and ability as a versatile actor.
I have heard comparisons of You Were Never Really Here to Taxi Driver (1976), and I have to say that I liked You Were Never Really Here better. I can see the comparison in only the mean streets and loud, tough city. The atmosphere was reminiscent of Taxi Driver in the way that it was filmed. However, I feel like Taxi Driver tried too hard and often fell short. There was a lot more unnecessary shock value in Taxi Driver. I felt like there was more depth and purpose to You Were Never Really Here (2017).
This movie was in limited release and therefore I had to go way out of my way in order to see it. Because it was such a dark film, I can understand that it was only in limited release. Not everybody can handle this type of movie. However, I am glad that movies like this one are still able to get made.
You Were Never Really Here will leave you thinking about it long after it is over. That is often how you can tell that a movie was worth seeing, when it sticks with you. If you are a fan of Joaquin Phoenix and you like grittier films, then you will most likely enjoy You Were Never Really Here.
I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.
If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:
Bad Samaritan (2018)
John Wick (2014)
John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)
Street Kings (2008)
Training Day (2001)
Crank: High Voltage (2009)
Triple 9 (2016)
Running Scared (2006)
Run All Night (2015)
Harsh Times (2005)
The Hunger Games (2012)
I’m not usually the type of guy to rush out and see a movie like The Hunger Games in theatres. I guess that is why I had not seen the film, until now. I probably would have put off seeing this movie even longer, but since a friend of mine wanted to see the The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) in theatres, I thought it best that I see the films in order.
People have raved about this movie, but it just wasn’t a must-see for me, even though, for the most part, it has a very solid cast. I don’t know if it is the PG-13 rating or what, but it just appeared to me like it would be a teenie-bopper film of sorts.
The movie takes place in the future where a society is split up into twelve districts. Once a year a lottery takes place in order to select a young man and a young woman from each of the twelve districts to take part in a televised battle to the death called The Hunger Games. The latest Hunger Games gets its first volunteer, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). Katniss volunteers in order to protect her younger sister from almost certain death. Now, Katniss is facing the same odds.
The film was directed by Gary Ross and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Elizabeth Banks, Josh Hutcherson, Wes Bentley, Lenny Kravitz, Liam Hemsworth, and Toby Jones.
I’m not sure that I buy into the concept of a society that would force a few of its residents to battle in a fight to the death. The idea was a little bit of a stretch. However, it did remind me a little bit of gladiators being forced to fight in an arena. It’s a backwards advanced warped society that would be a sick world to live in. Maybe I just hope that it could never get that bad, but given the world that we live in, maybe I’m just in denial. After all, if the holocaust can happen, maybe something like this could too. A movie like this that takes place in the future can get away with a concept like this one, because nobody knows what the future holds.
The film was a cross between The Most Dangerous Game (1932), Death Race (2008), and Gladiator (2000).
The Hunger Games was certainly better than I anticipated it would be. The big name actors in the movie all played their parts well. However, it was ultimately Jennifer Lawrence’s film. It was an intensely engaging, heartfelt movie with lots of cool visuals and a good soundtrack.
At times, the graphics were a bit overdone and almost too colorful. Some of the costumes were far out. The technology in the film seemed a little too advanced for a poor society. All of these things temporarily took away from the story along with a touch of lower quality acting from the lesser known supporting cast members.
Overall, The Hunger Games was a big surprise to me. It far exceeded my expectations and I wish I had given it a chance sooner, because I didn’t give it the credit that it deserves.
I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.