You Were Never Really Here (2018)

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You Were Never Really Here

This was actually my most hyped film of this weekend. Not familiar at all with  Lynne Ramsay’s filmography but was sucked in from the trailer. I’m a fan of Joaquin Phoenix and think although he’s had ups and downs, he’s always amazingly consistent and still underrated. Having now seen You Were Never Really Here, I will say that it meets expectations. The film is heavily boosted by its technical aspects and its strong lead performance.

The film is about a man named Joe, a former war veteran with PTSD, who is hired to find a young girl who has been abducted. Once he digs into trying to find the girl he realizes that the girl is being trafficked, and that rescuing the girl is not as easy as it seems. This is because her kidnapping has ties to something bigger and more corrupt than what it initially seems. He must deal with the dangers that arise and his own mental health. The film also stars newcomer Ekaterina Samsonov, who plays Nina.

Phoenix is typically great as is standard. The basis of the film is light and simple, however its delivered in a cold and unforgiving manner. There’s a few grizzly moments in the film and the subject matter is dark. I think the editing of the film was excellent. There are rapid cuts throughout the film that flash back to Joe’s past during war and the abuse he endured as a child. There are also cuts in scenes of the present day events, which adds a unique element to the presentation to the film.

The film has slow and brooding moments but it always remains atmospheric. A discordant score also provides you with the perfect mood for the films plot. I also liked the sparse dialogue in the film and the varied cinematography that follow the lead’s journey. Some of the scenes in the film are so incredible (namely the drowning scene). Its a really good effort from Ramsey, who succeeds in bringing a stylistically dark film that is yet another high in Joaquin Phoenix’s career.

7.5/10

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