Starring Nicholas Cage, Tye Sheridan, and Gary Poulter
Directed by David Gordon Green
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***
While Cage is certainly the "star" here, despite being the title character, Joe doesn't particularly belong to him as a film. Instead the relationship between Gary and his father Wade is the most striking aspect of the melancholic and somewhat heavy film. Tye Sheridan was introduced to the cinematic scene with The Tree of Life and Mud -- two films that showed potential in the young actor that really comes to light here. There's a naturalness to Sheridan that shows promise for his future.
Outshining both Cage and Sheridan, however, is Gary Poulter as the rather terrifying Wade. This was Poulter's one and only role as the first-time actor died before the film's release. I'm not sure I've seen a role inhabited in 2014 that felt as lived-in as Poulter's Wade. Perhaps the reason Wade strikes a chord is that Poulter himself was found by director David Gordon Green living homeless on the streets of Austin, Texas. When you talk about something feeling natural onscreen, I'm not sure it can get much more "real" than Poulter who struggled throughout his life with alcoholism and eventually died on the streets because of it. It's really a bravura performance that is frighteningly captured onscreen.
While the film itself is a little drawn out, slowly paced, and focuses too much on Cage's Joe who simply isn't all that compelling, Joe is certainly worth a watch if only for the terrifying relationship between Gary and his father Wade and the performances of Sheridan and the deceased Poulter.
The RyMickey Rating: C+