A traumatized veteran, unafraid of violence, tracks down missing girls for a living. When a job spins out of control, Joe's nightmares overtake him as a conspiracy is uncovered leading to what may be his death trip or his awakening.
Balancing between feverish dreamlike hallucinations of a tormented past and a grim disoriented reality, the grizzled Joe--a traumatised Gulf War veteran and now an unflinching hired gun who lives with his frail elderly mother--has just finished yet another successful job. With an infernal reputation of being a brutal man of results, the specialised in recovering missing teens enforcer will embark on a blood-drenched rescue mission, when Nina, the innocent 13-year-old daughter of an ambitious New York senator, never returns home. But amidst half-baked leads and a desperate desire to shake off his shoulders the heavy burden of a personal hell, Joe's frenzied plummet into the depths of Tartarus is inevitable, and every step Joe takes to flee the pain, brings him closer to the horrors of insanity. In the end, what is real, and what is a dream? Can there be a new chapter in Joe's life when he keeps running around in circles?Written by
I Wouldn't Dream of It
Written by Gary Geld, Peter Udell
Performed by Joyce Heath
Published by Universal Music Publishing Ltd.
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Quite jarring, think that's intended.
I'm still processing this. The comparisons to "Taxi Driver" are fair: the performances, the director's vision and exectution, the understated script..... those are some of the similarities. The major differences, for me include the depth to which the protagonist's trauma is not played out for us to view as observers, but drip-fed in increasing doses, often from a first-person perspective, which in my watching felt more like we were experiencing Joe's trauma with him, rather than seeing it played out for us. The film also has a lot of relevance to current discussions of modern masculinity, and here the gendering of social roles is presented very much more as a question than a statement.
If you prefer to finish watching a film with your friends and be able to agree pretty much without discussion on what it was about, then I suspect you might find this film pretentious or light on plot. If you're the type who enjoys discovering what your friends think they just saw, and don't mind spending a lot the movie time watching Joaquin Phoenix' face doing some really admirable acting, then this film might be as worthwhile for you as it was for me.
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