Joe (2013) Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan, Gary Poulter, Ronnie Gene Blevins Movie Review

Joe (2013)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Nicolas Cage in Joe (2013)

Caged Demons

Joe (Nicolas Cage) is a man with anger issues which has seen him not only have run ins with the law but spending some time in the big house. But between chain smoking and seeking out the company of women when his temper starts to rise he keeps it under control. He also runs a team of casual labourers who work the woods which is how he comes to meet teenager Gary (Tye Sheridan) who not only wants to work but kind of looks up to Joe as a father figure especially as his own father Wade (Gary Poulter) is a worthless drunk who not only hits Gary but would sell his own family for money. When Wade's bad ways go too far Joe finds himself having to do something he has battled to stop himself from doing.

First things first and "Joe" is not in the slightest bit a complex movie with a troubled teen befriending a man who is battling his own demons and who ends up growing protective towards the teen as he has a terrible father. The basic storyline plays out in a pretty predictable manner as we watch the situation escalate and Joe drawn into a situation he has worked hard to avoid. But it doesn't mean it isn't interesting as we get some fleshed out characters with real issues from Wade being a complete waste of space and a vile man to Joe being a man who knows his demons are always there and he has to work hard to control his anger issues. It makes for an interesting movie with some shocking scenes of graphic violence, some of which are seriously shocking.

Tye Sheridan in Joe (2013)

What "Joe" also has is Nicolas Cage delivering the sort of performance which made him a star rather than one of those performances where he relies on the Nicolas Cage screen persona to get him through. As such Cage really brings a lot of character to Joe to make him a really troubled individual and not just a wild eyed maniac. But we also have Tye Sheridan who delivers just as much character and makes Gary a good kid but one which is almost a contradiction because on one side you have this kid who has a mature side having had to grow up quick but there is also an immature, dappy side to him with a silly smile.

But here is the thing about "Joe" and the thing which may be a major roadblock to those who enjoy mainstream cinema, it is slow and bitty and for long periods of time doesn't flow. For example early on we see a scene of Wade hitting Gary and then after he walks away some guys beat Wade up, we don't know why and we never learn why it is just a scene. And there are lots of these moments in the movie which don't seem to add anything to the story just more character development. It makes this more of a character study movie than one about the story.

What this all boils down to is that "Joe" is an interesting movie, a very good study of three characters in a situation with Nicolas Cage delivering the sort of performance which garnered praise when he was younger. But it is a slow, bitty movie which might disappoint if you watch "Joe" expecting something more mainstream and story focused.