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Post Info TOPIC: Joe Review: Beautiful, Flawed with Cage at His Best


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Date: 2:38 PM, 04/02/14
Joe Review: Beautiful, Flawed with Cage at His Best

Great review for 'Joe',manual,manual

David Gordon Green’s new movie, Joe is like its title hero: larger-than-life, beautiful and flawed.

Said hero is played by Nicolas Cage, still constantly defying the notion that you only can act in so many bad movies and remain a movie star. Of course Cage is not only still a star but a great actor who every once in a while not limits himself to hamming it up delightfully. He’s so good in Joe that you want to tug at his magnificent beard and say “again, please.”

Here he plays an ex-con, prone to sudden outbursts of violence mostly directed at ‘assholes,’ human as well as canine. But generally Joe is a good man seeking redemption - which is bloated way of saying he doesn’t want to f*** up his life even more. He stays mostly at home, drinks himself to sleep. His workday consist of leading a gang of tree poisoners who rid the forests of unwanted trees.

Enter Gary (Tye Sheridan), the son of a homeless drunk. The latter is played by the late street artist Gary Poulter who is a sensational find. Poulter plays this - and I think this a fair description - utterly nasty son of a bitch with a sly wickedness which knows exactly when to better camouflage itself as harmless drunkenness and when to violently grab what it wants.

Joe becomes an unlikely father figure for Gary which puts him on the collision course with the troubled kid’s actual father. How that collision is finally achieved may seem contrived, with one supporting character in particular coming of as a silly caricature, only there for driving the plot forward. This impression isn’t exactly helped by David Gordon Green’s tendency to employ non-actors and let them deliver long jeremiads in Texan vernacular. In the best moments this technique yields beautiful, poetic results, not to be found in a less meandering, straight-forwardly shot dialogue scenes. In the worst it’s seems like an artsy gimmick.

But despite those moments of overt artsiness and despite a contrived plot, I found Joe’s journey very moving indeed. I would suggest one should look at the movie less as a realistic crime drama, but as two connected inward stories: one man’s search for redemption and a boy’s decision what path to choose for his life: good or evil.

My favorite moment comes toward the end of the movie. It’s a beautifully shot scene with Poulter standing on a bridge, looking into the moonlight with Cage slowly approaching. Director David Gordon Green likes to flirt with biblical imagery and plot elements (Undertow, George Washington) in his artsier fare, and here Poulter very much looks like the devil incarnate.

I won’t get into what this makes of Cage’s Joe. I sounded pretentious enough already. I will however repeat what it makes of Cage: one hell of an actor.

Joe will hit theaters April 11.



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