Director Lynne Ramsey’s follow up to her brilliant adaptation of We Need to Talk About Kevin is a brutal story of an emotionally damaged war vet now working as a fixer, accepting jobs that others are too weak, too afraid and too moral restricted to take on. His speciality is finding missing children and it is one such commission that may turn out to be his last. The brutality isn’t just in the occasionally graphic violence though; the film also has a heavy tone as the full consequences of the protagonist’s (arguably justified) savagery, the emotional and practical cost, are not shied away from. With all of this though the film is touching, beautifully meaningful and in places even poetic.
Joaquin Phoenix is superb in the leading role and the way he and Ramsey allow you to connect to such a disconnected character is brilliant. There is one scene in particular, where he says goodbye to a family member, that is lyrical in a way you rarely see in cinema, especially in this this type of movie. In an alternate reality somewhere there’s a very different telling of this film starring Bruce Willis or Liam Neeson, called something like The Finder or Retribution, but we’re not really there, we are really here and the version we’ve got is exceptional.
You Were Never Really Here is available for home viewing.