Joe is a veteran, with a traumatic past; starting with his childhood to the present day. He lives with and looks after his elderly mother, and as a job, he locates missing children, enacting violent means towards those in his way. As he embarks on a new job, he realises that all is not what it seems, the ramifications of which are both professional and personal, impacting everything that he thought he knew and believed.
This film is like a mash up of segments taken from others films; the soundtrack is haunting like Blade Runner, the plot is like Gone Baby Gone, and the main character, portrayed by the excellent Joaquin Phoenix, is almost like Liam Neeson in Taken. That said, this film is very unique and completely stands out by combining all these features to create a new outcome.
I wanted to watch this as it’s Joaquin Phoenix playing a very different role to those he’s probably most famous for, and I was intrigued to see his darker side…and that you do, as he not only battles his demons from the past, bu those very much in the present as well.
I wouldn’t necessarily say I enjoyed this, it’s a slow moving, psychological thriller that plays out with almost zero dialogue. The director clearly wanted to immerse the viewer by means of soundtrack and diverse camera angles, and did so to almost near perfection. The trouble with so little dialogue though, is that you have to retain everything that you see and hear throughout the film – which for a film that is so aggressive on the senses – is quite difficult. However, considering the theme, I was thoroughly impressed with the lack of on-screen violence – it could’ve gone very differently, which would’ve changed this film to something much less appreciative.
who should watch it?
All being said, You Were Never Here is a good film with a good ending. I probably wouldn’t recommend unless you’re ok with watching films the likes of Gone Baby Gone, or Taken. It’s a very psychological movie, so quite hard-going and deals with themes that are pretty distressing (although not laboured on).