There are plenty of warning signs that You Were Never Really Here would not be an enjoyable watch. Dealing with a dark subject matter, from director Lynne Ramsay whose previous film, We Need To Talk About Kevin, is a horrifically brilliant tale of a teen mass murderer, and with the uncompromising Joaquin Phoenix in the lead role, this is one film that was going to hue closer to film-as-art than most. And it certainly does, proving an uncompromising, unrelenting visceral experience, a brutal, bruising watch that will reward those who are brave enough to undertake this hellish journey.
Joaquin Phoenix plays Joe, a broken, scarred, bearded veteran living in
You Were Never Really Here is brutal and, admirably, uncompromising. Ramsay has crafted a film singularly of its own, with a central performance from
There is an element to both We Need To Talk About Kevin and You Were Never Really Here that in lesser hands could be exploitative. You can imagine an 80s action film starring a Stallone or Schwarzenegger that would share the same plot as this film. But there is a darkness here, a brutality that makes this an uncompromising watch. I can't say I will return to this film any time soon but it, once again, marks Ramsay out as one of the most fascinating directors currently working in cinema.