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You Were Never Really Here


Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Ekatarina Samsonova, Alessandro Nivola, Alex Manette, Judith Roberts, John Doman

Director: Lynne Ramsey

Mean, moody, but alas far from magnificent, Ramsey's new film centres on Joe Rogers (a heavily bearded Phoenix), a hitman/hardman/hired muscle/whatever, hired to 'hurt' those who have kidnapped the teenage daughter (Samsonova) of a prominent senator (Manette).

Rescuing her, Joe finds himself targeted and shot in the face, while his crotchety old mother (Roberts) is shot dead and the senator jumps from a high building.

Make no mistake, Ramsey's movie isn't half as exciting as that synopsis might suggest. It's full of slow shots of characters walking along, which all seem to take about a minute to unfold, plus flashbacks to what are presumably Joe's past kills.

Phoenix himself has almost nothing to do apart from mumble his lines, and suffer Ramsey's interminable close-ups of his untidily hirsute features as he contemplates suicide/retribution/who knows?

There's a decent film to be made from this idea, but it needs to be harder, faster and cleaner than this one.

David Quinlan

USA 2017. UK Distributor: StudioCanal. Technicolor.
89 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 04 Mar 2018