There are certain actors that can deliver an outstanding performance one minute, and a truly horrible one the next. Nicolas Cage is such an actor. I have seen movies with him, in which his acting is so completely over the top, that you almost want to turn it off in order to watch something else. But then again, when he really gets into a role, seriously this man can act. Unfortunately these days he pretty much grabs any role he can get his hands on, and he has starred in a couple of really atrocious movies. Which is a real shame, as I myself honestly think that he is a terrific actor, at least when he puts his mind to it. In the movie Joe he definitely did that.
Gary is a 15 year old boy whose life truly needs some improvement. His alcoholic dad pretty much beats the life out of him, and his mother is so far out of it, that she could not care less. One day while out looking for work, Gary meets up with Joe who is an ex-con. Joe has a rather dubious job poisoning trees with a group of other workers, in order to get them ready to get cut down. Eventually Gary is accepted into the group, and an unlikely bond begins to develop between Joe and the boy. However, Joe has a very dark past, and has daily struggles with his inner demons. He is beginning to see Gary as a younger version of himself, and he wants to prevent him from making the same mistakes that he did. Unfortunately this won’t be too easy, especially considering the fact that Gary’s dad certainly doesn’t accept the friendship that has grown between the two of them. It seems that the only way out might be through violence….
Joe is a very dark and depressing movie. I won’t lie to you there. I also don’t think I will rewatch this one any time soon. The overall atmosphere and darkness in this film, is truly horrific, and that is why this certainly won’t be a movie for everyone. This is not an action film, but purely a movie that is driven by dialogue, even though there certainly are a few scenes in it that could be considered action. That said there is one single reason why I still highly recommend this film, and that is the acting. All the performances in this movie are absolutely outstanding.
First off Cage does a terrific job in playing the role of Joe. As a character Joe certainly isn’t a man you would immediately respect, but because of Cage’s intense performance you truly want him to succeed in whatever he does. The chemistry he has with upcoming young actor Tye Sheridan, is another of the highlights of this film. All the scenes between them are truly terrific, and it is not hard to imagine the friendship that has developed between Joe and Gary. And then we have Gary’s dad who was played by a real homeless man picked of the streets by the director of the movie. This man, called Gary Poulter sadly died a few months after filming on the streets of Austin. A real shame as the way he played the young boy’s dad you would think he was a veteran actor.
It is hard to recommend a movie such as this. The really depressing mood and sadness contained within this one, absolutely do not make this an easy watch. However the performances given in this film, almost beg for you to see this movie at least for one time. I can’t say that I have enjoyed this film, because that truly would be a strange word to use for it. But I can say that I most definitely did not find this movie a waste of my time, and certainly from an acting point of view this movie is terrific.
I give Joe a 7 out 10 score.