JOE proves that you don’t need to shoot a dwarf to succeed in a violent drama. Perhaps shooting a dwarf is the new jumping a shark?
It is set in the US South and it is very Southern-gothic. Joe, played perfectly by Nicholas Cage, has a violent past, but he is trying hard to make a straight go of it without losing his honour. He soon meets 15 year old Gary Jones who is looking for work for himself and his drunken old dad – played brilliantly by non-professional actor Gary Poulter. I know it sounds a little odd, but I think Tye Sheridan brings a little of Billy Elliot into Gary’s character and he does it really well.
Poverty and desperation are woven throughout this film. It is disturbing to see people still living like this, even in so-called developed countries like the US, but it is probably pretty close to the truth. It is a pretty dark film, but I liked that not all hope was lost.
I think Joe succeeded where The Rover failed terribly. 4/5