7.4/10
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You Were Never Really Here (2017)

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Coming Soon

In theaters April 6.

A traumatized veteran, unafraid of violence, tracks down missing girls for a living. When a job spins out of control, Joe's nightmares overtake him as a conspiracy is uncovered leading to what may be his death trip or his awakening.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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33 ( 65)
3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
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Joe
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Senator Williams
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John McCleary
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Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Madison Arnold ...
Elderly Man
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Eye of Providence
Ryan Martin Brown ...
Towel Boy
Vinicius Damasceno ...
Moises
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News Anchor (voice)
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Waitress
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Joe's Young Mother
Mengqi He ...
Prostitute
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Hooker
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Storyline

A traumatized veteran, unafraid of violence, tracks down missing girls for a living. When a job spins out of control, Joe's nightmares overtake him as a conspiracy is uncovered leading to what may be his death trip or his awakening.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

R for strong violence, disturbing and grisly images, language, and brief nudity | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

6 April 2018 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Beautiful Day  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Received a seven-minute standing ovation at its Cannes Film Festival premiere, on May 27, 2017. Lynne Ramsay won the award for Best Screenplay and Joaquin Phoenix won for Best Actor. See more »

Quotes

Joe's Mother: Where you spend your time? What do you do?
See more »

Connections

References Speechless (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Taxi Driver revisited
17 October 2017 | by See all my reviews

It's hard to review this film without mentioning 'Taxi Driver'. Both films are about disillusioned war veterans, moving through the urban jungle, loathing the decadence of modern society, and rescuing a young girl from a brothel. Also, both films feature an aspiring politician during an election campaign. It's simply impossible to ignore so many similarities. But it's extremely difficult, not to say impossible, to make a film that can stand up to the iconic Scorsese classic.

Joe, a silent war veteran played by Joaquin Phoenix, specializes in difficult operations like rescuing young girls who have run into trouble. So he doesn't hesitate when an influential politician asks him to search for his daughter. The man doesn't want to involve the police, because he fears for his reputation.

Finding the girl turns out to be remarkably simple. But after having saved her by violently eliminating everyone standing in the way, things go wrong. There is more violence, more blood and more killing. In the end, Joe seems to emerge victoriously, but there is nothing to be happy about. 'Where do you want to go?', he asks the saved girl. 'I don't know', she says. 'I don't know either', is the desperate sounding answer.

Lynn Ramsay explains Joe's state of mind by inserting lots of short flashes, sometimes almost subliminal. It adds to the general mood of darkness and looming danger. All kinds of unpleasant things are going on, but Joe nor the viewer know exactly what. The only way to deal with it, is with ruthless violence.

But is this one man rescue mission enough to carry a whole film? I have my doubts. The first time Joe rescues the girl, the action is filmed in a very original way. We see everything happening through the images of the surveillance cameras in the building. This is exciting cinema. But at the end, Joe is filmed in a conventional way while slowly moving through a large villa, suspecting danger around every corner. This is a scene like so many similar scenes from other movies.

After leaving the cinema, I felt I had seen a bit too much violence and too little storytelling. But without doubt, this is a personal feeling: perhaps the lack of story elements is what makes this film stand out from others.


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