Adapted from the late Larry Brown’s novel of the same name, Joe commands exceedingly tight performances within a morally bereft universe. All aspects point to open-ended nihilism, as Joe’s modern wasteland seemingly refuses to accept personal convictions. In doing so, however, much of the somewhat traditional arc of redemption appears ill-placed considering the comparably virtuous origins of Joe’s central character.
Cage offers a surprisingly tempered portrayal, despite ample opportunity to provide otherwise. Relative newcomer Tye Sheridan does well also, though Joe’s best performance easily goes to Gary Poulter; from street to screen.
Desolation and apathy run rampant throughout Joe‘s sparsely occupied core. Though narratively weak, performance and atmosphere reign well enough to justify some of Joe‘s lesser attributes.
CAST: Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan, Gary Poulter
DIRECTOR: David Gordon Green
WRITERS: Gary Hawkins (screenplay), Larry Brown (novel)
SYNOPSIS: An honest criminal befriends a 15-year-old boy upon discovering his abusive parentage.