Its themes are far more hard hitting than a small pool of fake blood can be

There aren’t many films that deal with topics as violent, invasive and brutal as You Were Never Really Here. The film is a huge amount to take in as it bombards all in sight with sheer force and vicious aggression. The thick themes and layers cover its deep meaning in a thick layer of blood red agony.

Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) is a hired killer and a man with a home life drastically different to that of his persona in the outside world. Taking care of his mother, he lives at home, haunted by constant thoughts of committing suicide. Put to work on a new mission, Joe discovers the haunting truth about a young girl’s story, quickly becoming the only person she can rely on in a criminally unfair world.

You Were Never Really Here is far more important than the gore makes it seem. Its themes of responsibility, power, and guardianship hit far harder than any of the blood does, especially upon reflection of its deepest understanding. Similar to 2017’s Raw, its images are often shocking and repulsive, but its themes are far more hard hitting than a small pool of fake blood can be.

You Were Never Really Here 2

Phoenix becomes as involved as he always does, giving off another impressively emotive performance, using Lynne Ramsay‘s direction to its potential. He’s a powerful performer and guaranteed to command each of his vicious. For a film as intrusive and self questioning as You Were Never Really Here, he is the perfect front man.

Taking nothing for granted, Ramsay has produced a methodical yet harrowing thriller that competes with any self-thinking film of the last ten years. Its story line is often very hard to swallow, and in that distracts from its message somewhat, but the impact the film has would be nowhere near as great if it weren’t quite so horribly violent.

4/5

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