#MovieReviewMondays: "You Were Never Really Here"

“You Were Never Really Here” was written and directed by Lynne Ramsay, and stars Joaquin Phoenix as Joe, a traumatized veteran and ex-FBI agent who now rescues children from human trafficking operations.

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This film is the cumulation of two major talents in the film industry, each at the height of their power. No matter what you expect going into this movie, you will be surprised.

 

Ramsay has been under the radar of mainstream Hollywood since the 90s, despite here groundbreaking work in Scottish cinema. “You Were Never Really Here” just may be her magnum opus. Every single shot is meticulously composed to the detail. Not even one is wasted. Each has its own purpose. A near impossibility in Hollywood, Ramsay appears to do this with ease.

 

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And then there is Joaquin Phoenix. Like Ramsay, this is arguably the best work of his career. Playing a traumatized character is difficult, especially playing one accurately. His performance shows the reclusiveness, twitchiness, and paranoia one could expect from severe PTSD, all done without a hitch.

The best films stay with you long after the credits roll. The third act of the film embodies this concept. It will shock you, maybe even horrify you. It is nearly inexplicable, yet masterful in presentation and production, leaving us in a state of bewilderment and fascination.

Jonny Greenwood’s score only amplifies the feeling of confusion and paranoia to the maze that is greater-New York. Fast-paced and modern, it is perfect companion for this thrill ride.

Consensus

Lynne Ramsay has gifted us with a masterwork of a character study. You will be clinging to your seat experiencing suspense unlike any you have encountered before, backed by a career-defining performance by Phoenix.

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