You Were Never Really Here (2017)

You Were Never Really Here is a trippy, brutal, very impactful, and overall excellent film (current RT score of 88%) by Scottish-born Lynne Ramsay, who both wrote the screenplay and most ably directs the film. Joaquin Phoenix, who always excels in playing damaged goods, turns in a riveting performance as an ex-Special Forces, ex-FBI loner, obviously scarred by the things he’s seen in the Middle East and, domestically, in the realm of human trafficking. As a man walking through his shell of a life with an ominous death wish, Phoenix resorts to becoming an off-the-grid gun-for-hire whose specialty is finding and rescuing missing persons (e.g., underage runaways who are plucked into the seedy world of high-end, Lolita Express/Pizzagate-styled, sex rings utilized by politicians.) His methods are brutal and unrepentant, offset by the love and care he provides for his ailing mother.

There is a false flag reference to Hitchcock’s Psycho, and a clear and obvious allusion to the aforementioned Pizzagate dynamic, wherein nameless, faceless, uber-elite, powers deploy assassins to ‘disappear’ any disruptions of the system. Through his careful process of identity-protection, Phoenix puts layers of intermediaries between himself and his work, which may serve as in illustrative metaphor for the Alt-Right today in its poking, prodding, taunting, and exposure of the corruptions in the bowels of The Cathedral.

You Were Never Really Here is no formulaic revenge flick ala Taken, but an example of brave and original filmmaking. The film pushes the boundaries of narrative and plot advancement, and blends the subjective and objective elements into a stylized, gritty, and fast-paced experiment. While an utter hopelessness saturates Phoenix, the film does land on a faint note of light and hope.

Highly recommended.

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