Joe (2013) MIFF Review


US   90 Mins

Joe (Nicholas Cage) is a hard-living, chain-smoking, heavy-drinking man living in Mississippi, running a work crew who are poisoning trees in the forest so they can be cleared for a pine tree plantation. Gary (Tye Sheridan) comes to work for him, a fifteen-year-old who is trying to support his family despite the selfish behavior of his destructively alcoholic father, Wade (Gary Poulter).

A couple of days after watching Joe, it keeps playing in my mind. It was such a hard film.

The slow pace dragged out the pain that the characters are going through and raised the torment for the audience – and this was particularly painful during the scenes with the evil Willie-Russell (Ronnie Gene Blevins). Joe loses control a few times and this would have been the perfect place for some crazy Nicholas Cage acting, but instead it was a considered and sinister release of the rage we see building up throughout the rest of the film.  Tye Sheridan is rapidly building a great rep, and I hope that he has good support and is able to continue to pick strong roles and build an excellent career.

I was surprised to learn that, apart from a few of the key actors, most characters are played by non-professional actors, including Gary Poulter who played Wade. I find this type of casting often doesn’t work as I become distracted by the poor acting, but not in this film. Wow. Just… wow.

Joe is screening at 9pm on Monday August 4 at Hoyts and at 6:30pm on Thursday August 7 at The Capital. Book tickets at MIFF or call 9662 3722

Mud (2012) Film Review


I’ve started on my awards season film watching again, and this is pretty much the only reason I watched Mud. Turns out, this makes me an idiot. Matthew McConaughey was indeed nominated (and indeed won) a Golden Globe and an Oscar, but not for this film. Phew, I say, because he’s just fine in this, but I wouldn’t have thought it was award-worthy.

Mud is set in the deep south and follows a fourteen-year-old boy and his mate who have discovered a boat in a  tree on an island in the middle of the swamps. When they return to it, they discover Mud, a strange character who is living a strange existence, and before they know it, they are assisting him in his endeavours.

Tye Sheridan was marvellous as the main character; a boy who, despite his rough exterior, believes in love and will do anything for it; for his own love and for that which he sees in others. This belief leads to him getting hurt; both physically and emotionally, and you can see in his face that this hurt is so real.

Overall, I didn’t think it was a totally brilliant film, but it is worth watching just for the performances of the teenagers.