Joe (Nicolas Cage) is your basic good man with a low snap point. He works a crew under the table for the logging company. He has his vices and everyone in this small rural community knows him. Gary (Tye Sheridan) is a fifteen year old "boy left behind" who has issues with his drunken lazy father incredibly portrayed by Gary Poulter. Joe attempts to help the boy out without getting involved, while helping out others...everyone but himself.
The film moves slow to build character and background material. The gritty drama far outweighs the action aspect. This is a film that reminded me of "Winterbone" where we see a piece of a Southern rural community sliced open.
Parental Guide: F-bomb. Brief sex and nudity (Sue Rock?)
It's not family viewing, not by a stretch. Alright. What Joe is, is a story featuring two lead characters who remind me what I love in a hero. A true hero is real, which is to say, flawed, as we all are. But even the most flawed among us can act with sacrificial courage. It takes a special actor to pull that off so believably that you forget you're only watching a movie. In Joe, Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan do precisely that. Nicolas Cage gives a performance of such high caliber that I find myself pulled completely into the story. Tye Sheridan--amazing considering his young years--is just as convincing. This is no Coke and popcorn experience, other than that you might get to the end and find all your popcorn and Coke still there. It is the kind of movie I am always hoping for but very rarely ever get. The story is carried through with grit and shame and cruelty, but also with redemption and hope. Today, I got what I was looking for.
I don't understand all the negative reviews. This is a story, a very good story and fascinating too. Nicholas Cage has been impressing me lately with his small movies (The Frozen Ground is another good one). he does a great job, the supporting cast was mostly made up of locals that the director David Gordon Green found in the area and they are refreshingly natural. The standout is young Tye Sheridan, what a find and future star. Joe is an alcoholic ex-con who sees a 15 year old boy trying to make a life for him, his sister and mother only to have his horrifying drunken father beat him down all the time, figuratively and literally. If you are looking for an amazing story without giant robots or aliens or costumed heroes, then give "Joe" a try.
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