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Posts Tagged ‘Judith Roberts’

Joaquin Phoenix

“YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE”  My rating: B- 

89 minutes | MPAA rating: R

A brutal character study encased in an overripe — some might say rancid — melodrama, Lynne Ramsay’s “You Were Never Really There” offers Joaquin Phoenix at his moodiest.

Depending upon your point of view, that will be either a warning or an enticement.

When we first meet Joe (Phoenix) he’s cleaning up a hotel room where something very nasty has occurred.  He’s wrapping a bloody hammer in plastic and rinsing gory items in the bathroom sink.  There are also insert shots of someone — it’s hard to say just who — struggling to breathe with their head wrapped in a plastic dry cleaning bag.

Joe — who has the graying beard and long hair of a ’60s Jesus freak and seems to be about 50 pounds overweight — is not, as you might think, a serial killer.  Nor is he a hit man, exactly.

His specialty is retrieving lost children — kids who have been snatched or sold into sex slavery. It’s hard to say whether he’s in it for the money, for the sake of the kids, or because it gives him a good excuse to go Neanderthal on some really despicable people.

Job completed and fee collected, he shuffles off to the Bronx house he shares with his invalid mother (Judith Roberts), with whom he shares a love/hate relationship.  There are moments of genuine  tenderness here.  There are also flashbacks to Joe’s tormented childhood; apparently he spent lots of time locked in a closet while Mom entertained.

Other brief blips from Joe’s past reveal him to be a veteran who fought somewhere in the Mideast. (more…)

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