Director: David Gordon Green
In my review of the 2012 movie “Mud” I remarked that it was a modern beefed up version of a Mark Twain story. Well, now on the other side of the tracks comes to us a movie called Joe. If Mud was Twain, Joe is Faulkner. This is not an idealized “aw shucks” version of the south located on a scenic riverbed, but a dark gritty south that shows you its teeth. The other thing that links together Mud and Joe is the actor Tye Sheridan, who plays the teenage protagonist in both films Death is everywhere here. Joe, played by Nicholas Cage, who is the “hero” of the movie, makes his living by poising trees for a living so big corporations can come and chop them down on the loophole of them no longer being protected natural resources after they’ve been killed off. Into this tree poisoning business comes young Gary (Sheridan) and his drunk and abusive father Wade. Wade is played by first time actor Gary Poulter. Poulter was a real life homeless man that director green cast in this movie due to liking his look. Tragically a few months after filming wrapped up here, Poulter was found dead. This being his only performance in a feature film, he performed amazingly. He reminded of Bruce Dern and his turn in Nebraska, only minus any likability whatsoever. No one is really likable in this movie, although a few people are at least somewhat sympathetic. Nicholas Cage is always good in the role of a desperate, down on his luck type (see Leaving Las Vegas) and he is good here as well. This is a dark, gloomy movie, but it packs a heck of a punch. Recommended if it’s what you’re in the mood for.
Daily Inquiry: Who do you prefer, Twain or Faulkner? Also, this movie or ‘Mud’?