Nicholas Cage is possibly the most schizophrenic actor working in Hollywood today. The meme-friendly and oft-ridiculed star is frequently mocked for his range of emotions. It’s easy to forget that he’s won an Oscar for his acting prowess. However, these glimpses of brilliance are often rare. For every Leaving Las Vegas, Raising Arizona and Adaptation there are myriad The Wicker Man, Ghost Rider, Tokarev, Windtakers, Bangkok Dangerous and Season of the Witch. In Joe, a film by David Gordon Green, he’s on good form; putting in a great performance by largely keeping those aforementioned emotions in check.
Gary (Tye Sheridan) moves to a new town and looks for work along with his alcoholic father Wade(Gary Poulter). One day he stumbles on a small foresting outfit run by Joe (Cage). Joe gives Gary a job after being impressed by his hard-working attitude. However, his father cannot hold a job down, taking-out his frustrations on Gary. Joe has a chequered history or crime and violence and struggles to keep himself under control by living day-to-day. He forms a strong bond with Gary, but Wade’s precarious actions and the appearance of Willie-Russell (Ronnie Gene Blevins) threaten to tip Joe over the edge.
Tye Sheridan builds on his performance in Mud with another impressive turn. Whilst Cage adds the gravitas, he is the pole which the film gravitates around. Cage plays the role of the troubled Joe, who’s struggling with drink and to deal with his violent tendencies, with authenticity and believability. Gary Poulter was not a professional actor but a homeless man struggling with alcoholism. Sadly he lost that fight before the film was released. There’s beautiful cinematography by Tim Orr, which adds a moodiness and tense atmosphere throughout Joe.
Joe is released on Blu-ray and DVD by Curzon Film World on October 6.