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You Were Never Really Here Film Review (2017) – Phoenix Psychological Thriller

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(This is You Were Never Really Here film review, which is a psychological thriller film that involves child prostitution)

 

The Joker(2019)’s actor seems to like to act as characters that are moody and often speak much lesser dialogue than normal people. And in You Were Never Really Here, he shows that he is truly an actor that prides himself on acting rather than just talking.

It is directed by Lynne Ramsay, and features Joaquin Phoenix, Ekaterina Samsonov, Alex Manette, John Doman, and Judith Roberts. Without further ado, let’s delve deep into this film that just seems so different in the You Were Never Really Here film review below!

 

Premise

A traumatised mercenary was doing one of his missions to rescue a trafficked daughter of a New York Senator  but realised that things did not go as planned. Then, his childhood memories and those experiences from his past started to creep on him. Could he ever complete his mission and retain his sanity along the way?

You Were Never Really Here film review Joe and Mum
A scene between a mercenary and his mom…

 

You Were Never Really Here Film Review

Premise

The story is actually very simple and there are almost not much strong twists that will shock you much by the end of it. Also, the sequence of events can be said to be quite predictable up to the middle of the story. However, this film does not pride itself in showing the unexpected, but rather in showing the true raw emotions of the characters and how they are faced with their traumas. it is a very human story that relies much less on dialogues but on visual cues, music as well as the body expressions of the actors themselves.

You Were Never Really Here film review past trauma
Trauma from the past…

 

I would not grade highly on the freshness of the script, for they are not this film’s strength. Neither would I give a thumbs up on the conclusion of the film, for this, too, is not what this film wants to show at its earnest. But I would give this a high score purely on the way things are played out, that seems to create a world where it draws you in and yet does it subtly. It’s a world where you sympathise with the characters and yet you don’t feel overwhelmed with obvious emotions. Trust me, this is a weird film that draws you in without you knowing much the reason for you doing so. It’s haunting and raw, and though this film serves only for a certain niche, it proves itself able to tell a story without telling us much(literally).

If you are expecting a nice story with a proper start and ending that are explained, then you will be sorely disappointed. However, if you just want to get into the world and let it bring you around, then this might be the film for you.

 

Pacing

Pacing is neither slow nor fast, and it can be said to be quite monotonous. Yet, it’s precisely this pacing that draws you in little by little, as the film invites you to delve deeper into its own world, without using any shock factors that other films do. Though, I did feel that the middle portion was a touch too slow to my liking, and hope that some parts can be hastened a bit to create a better flow.

The sequences of events that happen seem to repeat themselves all over, and it presents a pattern that though is predictable, you will also feel that they will show something different the 2nd time it comes around.

 

Characters

You Were Never Really Here film review the girl
The girl that serves as the catalyst…

 

Now, we are into the meat of the film, where Joaquin Phoenix proves why he is a master actor that could show you more emotions without relying on much dialogue. It’s the same as in Joker, here he plays an equally traumatised character that has trouble retaining his sanity against childhood traumas. His eyes, oh yes his eyes especially, show a deep sadness that does not need to be spoken for you to feel them. Yet none of this is overwhelming to the point of things feeling exaggerated like many other films. I must say that this film does a good job showing us a simple journey of a man trying to do his mission, and then feeling the brunt of the pain from his past.

Sadly, because this film focuses a tad too much on the central character, other characters such as the supporting characters and antagonists are sidelined by quite a bit. You get to see some of them in the flashbacks that will make you empathise with them, but they are not very strong. This film has always only cared much to show Phoenix’s character and his relations to other characters, but never to show us much about how the latter are affected by him. So this department itself gets a minus from me.

Also, this film does not really show any character’s growth, and here it becomes quite controversial for me. How much of the characterisation is sacrificed in exchange for a story that focuses only on a character’s particular moment of trauma?

You Were Never Really Here film review phoenix
A film that draws you in so subtly…

 

Soundtrack

The film has mostly quiet moment where things can be total silence. This actually helps in setting up the appropriate atmosphere and mood that reflects the emotion of the characters well. Things are quiet, yet hauntingly beautiful in their own way, that keeps drawing  you in with some hypnotic tracks that fuse with oldies tracks.

 

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You Were Never Really Here Film Review (2017) – Phoenix Psychological Thriller
Story
Pacing
Characters
Soundtrack
Reader Rating0 Votes0
What's good
Phoenix's masterful acting
A premise that is not new and yet still draws you in
Some scenes are in complete silence which give much greater impacts
Relies much more on visual cues and music to tell a story, and not on dialogues
What's bad
Side characters and antagonists are sidelined
Almost not much character growths
Pacing in the middle can be a touch too slow
3.9
Pretty Good!
A film that just stands on its own due to Phoenix!
Honestly, this film without Phoenix in the helm would suffer. But because of his masterful acting as well as due to the way things are directed, this film could have you in for a ride that is subtle, quiet and yet hauntingly beautiful.
[You Were Never Really Here film review score table]
Author Details
An everyday guy who is the founder of Controller Companies. He started it when he was frustrated to find that the stuff he bought had no reviews available online. Thus, this website is created with the sole purpose of reviewing stuff that he has seen, bought, used or enjoyed! Now, he is probably doing another review while you are reading this.
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Anthony L Tjandra
An everyday guy who is the founder of Controller Companies. He started it when he was frustrated to find that the stuff he bought had no reviews available online. Thus, this website is created with the sole purpose of reviewing stuff that he has seen, bought, used or enjoyed! Now, he is probably doing another review while you are reading this.
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