Director: David Gordon Green
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan, Gary Poulter
Country of Origin: USA 2013 117 mins.
Official Selection 2013 Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals
Released by ARTIFICIAL EYE/CURZON FILM RELEASING
'Powerful, riveting, bleak, brutal and emotional - Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan excel.'
Joe Ransom (Nicolas Cage) has a dark and brutal past and he's served time. His days are spent overseeing a crew of labourers who poison trees for a local timber company. It's not easy for Joe to dodge his instincts for trouble and there's an on-going feud with with a local thug Willie-Russell (Ronnie Gene Blevins) but it's not all bad. Joe's friendly with those whom he can trust. The days are long and hard and a drink, a smoke and when need be a woman eases the pain. Joe's got history.
15 year-old Gary (Tye Sheridan - Mud & Tree of Life) joins the crew and awakens in Joe a need to be a fierce and tender-hearted protector to the boy.
Adapted from Larry Brown's 1991 novel of the same name, the film's a platform for Nicolas Cage to show what a fine actor he is. Gone are the mannerisms and mediocre widescreen Hollywood performances of the past. This is a Nicolas Cage totally immersed in Joe, a bleak character seeking redemption. Tye Sheridan, protective of his mother ( Brenda Isaacs Booth) and sister excels with a restrained and powerful performance but it's Gary Poulter who takes the prize. Riveting as Wade, Gary's alcoholic father, he's the personification of evil. Except for the obvious names the fim has a cast of indie actors and non-professionals and it's difficult to believe that Gary Poulter had never acted before and was himself homeless at one time. Sadly he died shortly after completion of the film.
Riveting, a bleak and brutal film. Laced with black humour and beautifully shot by Tim Orr, it's a gripping mix of friendship, violence and redemption in the contemporary backwoods of Mississippi.