You Were Never Really Here

You Were Never Really Here ★★★★★

Lynne Ramsey's brutal vigilante thriller echoes the traumatised-war-veteran-saves-young-girls premise of Taxi Driver but, where Scorsese's film was poised and (mostly) genteel, Ramsey's film is skittish, tense and impressionistic throughout. To that end, the plot of the movie becomes secondary to how it skilfully renders the tortured psyche of Joaquin Phoenix's Joe who, haunted by visions from the past, struggles to stay sane while simultaneously performing acts of violence with dispassionate military precision; as Joe teeters on the edge, the film itself feels like it could spiral into a breakdown.