You Were Never Really Here ★★★★½

Artful intensity. Violence devoid of glory, glamour, or indulgence.

Joaquin Phoenix is a hulking murderer with a burried hint of sensitivity echoing of Her's Theodore. Just the way he walks is imposing, and the slow unspooling of character development that the film reveals is masterful. The flashback flashes are subtly horrific, and we empathize with his haunting PTSD.

The cinematography is outstanding, each frame gorgeously constructed, and obscuring the death in the same way Phoenix's numbness to it all does.

Johnny Greenwood's score is chaotic and moody, perfectly complementing the plot's unexpected momentum and Phoenix's constant teetering over the edge of death.

There have been many comparisons drawn between this film and Taxi Driver. While this doesn't match the quality of Scorsese's classic, it explores many of the same themes and character dynamics. The link I'm most curious about between the two is the ending. Taxi Driver famously ends on a very ambiguous note, leaving the audience unsure of the true fate of De Niro's character. I think you can say the same about this film, and I'm curious as to how people are interpreting it.

Overall, not a film I would recommend to everyone, but definitely one that appeals to my personal taste. Phoenix is phenomenal, as always, and the subject matter is dark and thoughtful. The violence is never grandiose, but rather sad and disturbing. For the first half of the film I thought it was going to be a small little quiet indie with not much happening, but the last third really delivered for me. Excellent film.