My Review of DGG's "Joe"

Glib Reviews Of recent DVD Releases

- Directed by David Gordon Green

I have been a pretty rabid David Gordon Green fan since seeing his first (and my favourite, still of his films) film, “George Washington” at the Vancouver International Film Festival way back when. His more ‘Hollywood’ pictures starting with “Pineapple Express,” (which- namedrop- in a way long time ago time, and place, I gave notes on a very early draft of that script, given to me by Evan Goldberg) have been funnier, and less small town noir, or indie drama than his first four pictures.

“Joe,” his latest; that I have taken a week to getting around to reviewing, is a real return to that early form, albeit in a slicker style, and tone. Nicholas Cage gets to bring that off kilter intensity that he occasionally brings forth when he actually gets a good script. Cage really wears the character’s weariness at having to be an alpha male all the god damned time on his sleeve. A great deconstruction of male posturing and small town bravado involved in all the performances, from the real up and coming young actor Tye Sheridan, who stole the show in Mud, where he played a similar youngster looking to maybe the wrong father figure, but making the best of it, to all the women who don't quite accept being props for male ego, despite having few other choices made known to them. 

Sheridan doesn’t necessarily steal any scenes in ‘Joe” but he doesn’t need to. The quality of performances all round is stellar. The actor playing Sheridan’s alcoholic, nasty piece of work father was played by a local homeless man named Gary Poulter, and his turn is maybe the best performance in the film. He nails the sadness and desperation of the character. Poulter died living in the streets a few months after filming, making his on screen pathos even more poignant.

Cage himself is perfect as an aging Alpha dog of a man, to see him riffing with the locals that Green always populates his films with is delightful. The locals cast bring the whole movie down to earth, and give the film much of it’s charm. There aren’t many happy endings in DGG films, but despite all the horrors these testosterone driven beasts put themselves through, you get a sense of hope at the end, just a little. I highly recommend this picture to fans of cinema, and great performances.

9.11134 violent foregone conclusions hitting you upside the head outta 10


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