Joe (2014)

DailyView: Day 355, Movie 506

Nicolas Cage is hard to comprehend. There are times when he makes just the most god awful movies that are nothing more than a way to pay the bills such as Left Behind. Other times, he makes intense character pieces such as Pig. He didn’t utter a word in Willie’s Wonderland. I am never sure what to expect from Nicolas Cage so watching Joe this morning for the DailyView made me wonder which Nic Cage I was getting.

Joe featured Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan. Joe (Nic Cage) ran a tree-killing business and the 15-year old drifter Gary (Tye Sheridan) wandered in and asked Joe for a job. Impressed with his approach, Joe hired the boy on the spot.

Turned out that Gary’s alcoholic and abusive father Wade (Gary Poulter) wanted to work too, but his work ethic did not match that of his son.

Joe was an ex-con who had gotten in trouble with the police years ago, but the sheriff (Aaron Spivey-Sorrells) was an old friend of Joe, and he tried to keep Joe out of trouble. Joe, who had bonded with Gary, seemed to be on a path of escalating violent behavior.

Nicolas Cage was great as Joe. He was very conflicted throughout the film, but he was really good to Gary, giving him a father figure that he was lacking from Wade. Another excellent performance was from Gary Poulter, who played Wade. Poulter was homeless before the film and also an alcoholic, but he delivered a role with so much menace and cruelty that he stood out from an excellent cast. This was Poulter’s only role as he passed away not too long after the film was finished.

I do feel as if the film meandered a bit in the middle. It could have tightened up the story and trimmed 15-20 minutes from it.

With the recent Nic Cage-naissance happening, this is a hidden gem from his catalogue that would be a good watch for Cage fans.

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