Joe (2013 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David Gordon Green|
|Screenplay by||Gary Hawkins|
by Larry Brown
|Edited by||Colin Patton|
|Distributed by||Worldview Entertainment
Joe is a 2013 drama film directed by David Gordon Green and starring Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan and Ronnie Gene Blevins. It is an adaptation of Larry Brown's 1991 novel of the same name and premiered at the 2013 Venice Film Festival, with a subsequent screening at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.
The movie opens with Gary (Tye Sheridan), a 15-year-old drifter, lecturing his father, Wade (Gary Poulter), on getting a job and not destroying anything good that comes their way. Wade turns to Gary, punches him in the face and walks off, only to be met by two men who likewise beat him, much more brutally.
Joe Ransom (Nicolas Cage) is a foreman for a small tree-removal crew in backwoods Texas. He is well-liked by the residents of the town and his crew, but has a long string of incarcerations due to his violent behaviour and disrespect for the law. He lives in self-imposed emotional isolation, frequenting a local brothel.
Gary asks Joe for a job, soon impressing him with his work ethic. However, when Gary brings his father with him the next day, Wade's attitude and utter lack of work ethic gets them both fired. Gary later goes to Joe's house to talk him into rehiring him. Joe agrees, and Gary begins working for him regularly. Wade routinely beats Gary and takes his salary, forcing Gary to hide his earnings.
Gary meets Willie (Ronnie Gene Blevins), with whom Joe has already had a series of violent encounters. When Willie ask Gary whether he has a sister, and makes lewd comments about her, Gary attacks him. Seeking revenge, Willie finds Wade and bribes him for a liaison with Dorothy. Wade accepts and takes Dorothy with Gary's truck. Gary comes to Joe, promising that he will kill his father for what he has done. Joe tries to calm him, but agrees to accompany Gary to retrieve his sister.
Wade and Willie meet at a desolate place, where Willie is ready to presumably rape Dorothy. Joe arrives and intervenes, ready to execute Willie, but he is shot by one of Willie's thugs. He shoots and kills them both, but is severely wounded. He staggers towards Wade, ready to shoot him as well, but runs out of rounds. Wade calmly acknowledges Joe, and jumps off a bridge to his death. Joe then collapses and as he lies dying Gary returns with the police. Gary runs to Joe and hugs him - a clear act of love, unsoiled by ulterior motives or expectations, in sharp contrast to Joe's frequent visits to the local brothel - for all that Joe has done for him as Joe dies knowing he kept Gary from going down the wrong path.
In the epilogue, Gary inherits Joe's truck and loyal dog, as well as a new job replanting the forest Joe worked on removing.
- Nicolas Cage as Joe Ransom
- Tye Sheridan as Gary
- Heather Kafka as Lacy
- Ronnie Gene Blevins as Willie
- Brian Mays as Junior
- Sue Rock as Merle
- Adriene Mishler as Connie
- Gary Poulter as Wade
- Dana Freitag as Sue
Joe received generally positive reviews from critics. Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 86% of critics gave the film a positive review based on 123 reviews with a "Certified Fresh" rating and an average score of 7.3/10, with the site consensus: "Rich in atmosphere and anchored by a powerful performance from Nicolas Cage, Joe is a satisfying return to form for its star -- as well as director David Gordon Green". On Metacritic, it holds a 74/100 score (indicating "generally favorable"), based on reviews from 36 critics.
The film circulated into the mainstream news when actor Gary Poulter was found dead in a shallow body of water on Feb. 19, 2013, before the film was ever released. Poulter, who played an alcoholic father in the film, was a real-life homeless man, who suffered from alcoholism and was already deeply ill. His only other acting credit was as a background extra in the TV series Thirtysomething. Producers worried that casting Poulter in the film would be a risk because of Poulter's lack of sobriety, but Green stayed committed to having him in the film. Writing for RogerEbert.com, Peter Sobczynski called Poulter's performance "stunning" and "one of the great one-shot performances in the history of the cinema".
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- "Venezia 70". labiennale. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
- "Venice film festival 2013: the full line-up". The Guardian (London). 25 July 2013. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
- "Toronto film festival 2013: the full line-up". The Guardian (London). 23 July 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
- McClintock, Pamela (7 September 2012). "Toronto 2012: Nicolas Cage To Star In David Gordon Green’s ‘Joe’". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- "Joe (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
- "Joe". Metacritic. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
- The Tragedy of Gary Poulter, Nic Cage's Homeless Co-Star. Gawker.com. Retrieved on 2014-05-22.
- His Name Was Gary Poulter. Austinchronicle.com. Retrieved on 2014-12-08.
- Joe Movie Review & Film Summary (2014). Roger Ebert. Retrieved on 2014-05-22.