View Full Version : Joe (David Gordon Green)

04-13-2014, 03:39 AM

Director: David Gordon Green

imdb (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2382396/?ref_=nv_sr_3)


Henry Gale
04-23-2014, 12:57 PM
Strong stuff. I mean, I seem to always enjoy whatever David Gordon Green puts on screen -- even when it's trying to figure out and imagine what The Sitter might've been in his head at one point compared to what it ended up being as a final product -- but Joe is just a tight, furious little backwoods thriller, and the sort of thing that manages to stay involving enough that it rightfully only lets up once it rolls the credits.

The foundations of the characterizations feel like they could be simpler and less specific with different performances, and a lot of it feels a bit derivative of movies with similar subject matter and locales, but Green, his crew and that cast shape it into something discernibly strange and uniquely stirring. Definitely a lot of echoes of Mud, and not just because of Tye Sheridan, some structural elements, the southern setting and the three-word eponymous title. I mean, Jeff Nichols is even given a Special Thanks at the end, so the two productions clearly weren't unaware of each other, and they almost work nicely as counterparts. One fueled from a place of clinging onto withered foundations of love, the other rooted in deep anger, primal behaviour and the ever-present seeds they plant in people's lives in a world that can never facilitate an easy way to resolve them without serious costs of one's own well-being. (Oh, Joe is obviously the latter).

Visually, at first I was trepidatious about Green and Orr shifting their photographic process from their usual, gorgeous 35mm work from over the years to one that was digital, especially when early scenes seemed uncharacteristically drab and clung to that sort of light, drudgy motion-haze inherent to a lot of codex-based footage, but once I got past that (or it did) I was stunned by the palettes they designed with the lighting and scope of so many of their locations, even in how strikingly varied they were between various hours of the film's days and nights. There are some golden browns, pinks and purples, bright greens and soda blues finding their ways into single frames, all just draping the characters' faces and quietly painting the sets in different lights, as if it's not almost distractingly amazing.

Then after this I learned their luscious Prince Avalanche work was also achieved with the Arri Alexa. So they already fooled and impressed me with the change to digital before I'd realized it'd even occurred.

As if it wasn't obvious from any small exposure to its premise, pictures or other promotional materials, it's a piece that fits very much between the Green of George Washington and Undertow, but with a significant move towards something new for him that makes it all the more interesting and exciting to think of where he might go next. There's a casual ethereal spell he casts over portions like a few brief montages, and they're some of the most effective and hypnotic stretches in it (which even reminded me of Korine / Spring Breakers intermittently.) So I always thought it was incredibly idiotic notion during his comedy excursions (of which his work on Eastbound & Down is phenomenal, Pinapple Express doesn't seem like it'll lose its thick, hysterical lustre anytime soon, and Your Highness remains much better than anyone will seemingly ever bother to give it credit for being) that he somehow forgot how to make something along these lines, or be disinterested or incapable of ever wanting to do so.

Well, it's pretty clear at this point that for someone with abilities as eclectic as Green's, when he's passionate about something of whatever flavour, and the greenlight actually comes, he will tackle it and rightfully revel in it in the moment, regardless if its what everyone else has in mind for him to do next. But as with any artist, that should be all you could want and expect from him.

Bring on whatever's next.

07-03-2014, 06:34 PM
Cage is pretty good, but the real revelation here is Gary Poulter, whose presence lights a fire under the ass of his every scene, which is about all I expect to recall in the long-term from this resolutely solid, yet curiously nondescript film.

07-03-2014, 09:43 PM
but the real revelation here is Gary Poulter


Man, that's a sad story.

Henry Gale
07-04-2014, 02:03 AM
Yeah, I didn't know anything about Poulter until after I'd seen him in the movie (and maybe even what I'd written above) and had been seriously impressed by him there in a way I had a hard time describing or even wrapping my head around. I feel like if I'd just known he wasn't even an actor it would've made everything he brought to it a little more understandably haunting but still unbelievable on its own, but then there's the added gutting fact about his passing that just gives the work he does in it an aura of something else entirely.

There's scenes where he manages to be heartbreaking, hilarious and terrifying, sometimes even within the same gesture or line of dialogue. It's just one of those amazing chance sort of displays of an on-screen character, and even if the script and on-set direction had one idea of how it was using his character, the final performance is so vivid, unsettling and unique that it manages to have its own life of subtext built into it. It's entirely its own beast with nothing obvious to put it beside to compare, and it's even more tragic to realize it'll remain that way in terms of even his own output as an artist.

09-08-2014, 11:29 AM
I liked this.

Can't remember the last time Nicholas Cage hasn't played a characterture of himself.