You Were Never Really Here (2018) (24/25)

Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here has the plot of a thriller, but absolutely no interest in pandering to the audience’s sense of conventional entertainment. Joaquin Phoenix plays Joe, a psychologically tortured and suicidal man who makes his living rescuing missing children. When his latest job takes him into the wretched world of sex trafficking, and into the crosshairs of a wealthy and influential monster of a man, the job eventually turns deeply personal, and violence ensues.

Joe knows violence, but neither he nor Ramsay revel in it. Violence, physical and psychological, is cruelty, and You Were Never Really Here understands that, to the point where after Joe kills a murderer, he lays down with him and holds his hand while he dies. The world is dark enough already, and that sensitivity only makes this thriller unique and fascinating. Indeed, it transforms what could have been a formulaic premise into bold treatise on despair, about a hero who’s seen so much horror that death might legitimately feel like a blessing. The finale is impossibly insightful and incredibly shocking.

What do you think?

Written by Abu Bakar

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