Anything from Lynne Ramsay feels like a long time
coming (four films in twenty years) but always
worth waiting for. This is a striking piece of art.
Joaquin Phoenix is Joe, a bearded and bedraggled
hired gun who specialises in retrieving kidnapped
children. He has a reputation for brutality, a useful
asset when searching for a senator’s missing
daughter, Nina, eerily played by Ekaterina Samsonov.
This mission sets Joe down a path that pushes his
psyche to breaking point. Ramsay (We Need to Talk
About Kevin) is one of those auteur filmmakers who
only commits when their instinct is right. Here she
rips out the obvious elements, distilling the novella
into an abstract feeling – a fragmented dream, if you
like – one that the audience must navigate and piece
together (no wonder it was a Cannes favourite).
All this carnage plays out to a deranged yet
sometimes achingly beautiful Jonny Greenwood
composition (the lake scene is moving beyond
words). Its brutality is only matched by its beauty.
A must-see for cinephiles and the strong willed.
(Jack Whiting) Strong of stomach too, perhaps. Love
me, love my beard. Not to be wasted, Joaquin saves
it for Jesus. (Mary Magdalene. 28 & 30th)