This stunning epic is a tale that you won’t want to miss. It is dark, brooding, intense and downright depressing, but all that just adds to how fantastic this film really is.
I’m being serious when I say that this is a career revival for Nicolas Cage as Joe. The grittiness reality of his character is something we have not seen from Cage in what feels like forever, sparking memories of Leaving Last Vegas.
Joe, the rough yet loveable Southerner who tries to keep his head down from the troubles that possesses the area in which he lives. However when Tye Sheridan’s Gary comes along, it is all but impossible to keep himself out of trouble. Joe is compelled to help Gary, a 15-year old drifter, abused by his violent, alcoholic father, who comes looking for a job to support his own family.
What makes this film so great is how David Gordon Green makes it feel so real. Every action that takes place, you feel a need to join in. This is especially true in the case of Gary’s father. Never have I wanted to punch someone so hard in all my life, and this urge to intervene is just one of the many feelings that this film leaves you with. Green often casts locals in his film, adding to the reality, and Gary Poulter (Sheridan’s father in the film), was a homeless man, who later died a couple of months after filming, on the streets of Austin. Yet his performance is one that won’t be forgotten, as his character was so incredibly real, you may have thought this was a documentary.
As for Tye Sheridan, his fantastic portrayal of the abused son will see his name go far. Having starred in a very similar movie Mud, he finds his role reversed, as he is the one being rescued, rather than the one rescuing.
At times this film is difficult to watch, but the story itself is so powerful, you are impelled to carry on, eager to find out how it concludes. It is not your everyday Hollywood movie either, something that perhaps will diminish the film’s exposure, yet already it has been received well at the Venice Film Festival. The way in which it is shot, makes it feel so incredibly real, you would think you were watching a documentary about the Deep South.
Hopefully this will restore credibility to an actor who has become the butt of jokes. If he continues to work in these types of roles, another Oscar could soon be sitting on his mantelpiece.
DIRECTOR: DAVID GORDON GREEN
WRITER: GARY HAWKINS (BASED ON THE NOVEL BY LARRY BROWN)
STARS: NICOLAS CAGE, TYE SHERIDAN, GARY POULTER, RONNIE GENE BLEVINS, ADRIENE MISHLER
RUNTIME: 117 MINS APPROX