Joe ★★★★

Wading in a mire southern gothic atmosphere and suburban decay where a set of testicles is required ammunition, David Gordon Green recruits the walking parody of himself that is Nic Cage for a much needed comeback, and boy does he draw some vim and vigour from the old fella. Cage is the necessary anchor for a grizzly little tale that may seem slight narratively, but is densely weighted toward subtle character observations and themes on masculinity and redemption, in similar ways to Jeff Nichol's marvellous Mud from last year (which also sported a fine performance from young up and comer Tye Sheridan). Not every character is fully drawn, and some even feel a little over-cranked for melodramatic effect, but everyone is necessary in making the films world feel lived and breathed in which is only enhanced by Tim Orr's evocative cinematography that made Green's previous film Prince Avalanche so memorable. Let us all hope this is a resurgence for 'The Cage', and Green alike.

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