You Were Never Really Here (2017)

Director: Lynne Ramsay

Writer: Lynne Ramsay (Screenplay) Jonathan Ames (Book)

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Judith Roberts, Ekaterina Samsonov, Alessandro Nivola, Alex Manette


Plot: A traumatized veteran, unafraid of violence, tracks down missing girls for a living. When a job spins out of control, Joe’s nightmares overtake him as a conspiracy is uncovered leading to what may be his death trip or his awakening.


Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Divisive to Say the Lease


Story: You Were Never Really Here starts as we meet Joe (Phoenix) a war veteran that has his own nightmares that uses getting bag over head trick to show him what life is worth being a part off, he lives with his insecure mother (Roberts) and works as a fixer, tracking down missing girls for a living.

Joe’s latest job is to help Senator Albert Votto (Manette) find his daughter Nina (Samsonov) who has a habit of running away. When this latest mission gets out of hand, Joe must seek revenge on the people responsible in the bloody way possible.


Thoughts on You Were Never Really Here


Characters – Joe is the veteran that is suffering from his own nightmares, traumatised from his time at war, his outlets include a mix of legal highs and searching for missing girls. He is excellent at getting the job done and can get his hands dirty where needed, he has a close relationship with his mother where he tries his best to care for her, but his latest job will show us just how deadly he can be. Joe’s Mother is the one person Joe opens up to, she is the only one that can keep him grounded through his troubles. Nina is the teenager that went missing, the one he promises to help, we don’t see too much from her other than he is part of his motivation.  

PerformancesThere is no question that Joaquin Phoenix is brilliant in the leading role, we know his struggles he is showing us and watch eagerly to see what he does next. As for the rest of the performers, they are good as they are not trying to take the spotlight away from him.

StoryThe story follows a struggle war veteran with the ability to track down missing people getting involved in a bigger picture that he just wasn’t prepared for. As things get out of hand he continues to question his own sanity as he looks to do the right thing for the latest victim. Well I think that is what I read from the movie, I am not going to lie when I say I feel I may have missed what makes this such the iconic special movie people have been talking about. It just seems to go into the you will need to understand every scene to make the answer to what happened as most of the interesting scenes do seem to miss the point.

MysteryThe mystery parts of this film come from just not knowing just where things will be going, just like Joe who is waiting to see what he has gotten himself into.

SettingsThe film shows us just where Joe can stay away from the public eye but can be in the middle of the scene searching for the answers.

Scene of the Movie –

That Moment That Annoyed Me This movie has been overhyped for me.

Final ThoughtsThis is disappointing for me, because all I have heard is how great this movie is, but by the end of the film it does end up falling very short for me.


Overall: Disappointing.





ABC Film Challenge – Action Movies – L – Ladder 49 (2004)

Director: Jay Russell

Writer: Lewis Colick (Screenplay)

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, John Travolta, Jacinda Barrett, Robert Patrick, Morris Chestnut, Billy Burke


Plot: A firefighter, injured and trapped in a burning building, has flashbacks of his life as he drifts in and out of consciousness. Meanwhile, fellow firefighters led by the Chief attempt to rescue him.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Thought Provoking Action Thriller


Story: Ladder 49 starts as Jack Morrison (Phoenix) is performing a daring tower block fire rescue only for disaster to strike and Jack finds himself trapped inside the burning inferno. This causes Jack to have flack backs to his early firefighting days as a rookie in the 39th under Mike Kennedy (Travolta).

As Jack continues to fade between consciousness we learn about his personal life and how he met and married Linda (Barrett) as well as seeing just how his team became the unit through the good and bad events of being a firefighter, this will give him a chance to believe who could save him.


Thoughts on Ladder 49


Characters/PerformanceJack Morrison is the firefighter that gets trapped in the fire, we get to see his rise from rookie firefighter to one of the most respected in his team, get married and have children but through the events of the film we are left to wonder like himself whether he was right to stay in the force. Captain Mike Kennedy keeps his team united through the good times and the bad, he knows how to motivate them and how to let them celebrate, but he won’t leave a man behind. Linda is the wife of Jack that he meets on one of his first few days on the job, she is concerned after the first death in the squad. The rest of the unit are what you expect, the best friend, the wise one, the confrontational one you know the picture.

Performance wise, Joaquin Phoenix is great in the leading role showing he was ready to make the jump from supporting actor to leading man. Travolta shows that he can turn out good performances around the weaker ones people can slam him for. Jacinda Barrett is good but doesn’t get the full levels you would like to see from the supporting character. The cast all give us good performances throughout the film too.

StoryThe story is told as one man is looking back on his life wondering if he made the right decisions in his life when he becomes trapped during the latest fire he is fighting. This does show the stress firefighters would go through from either a good rescue or seeing a friend hurt or killed, dealing with personal life and the peril of going into a blaze with no true idea of what is waiting for them. I like how this is told because it shows how Jack got to where he is in his ranking within the unit.

Action/ThrillerThe action sequences are all different types of fires the crew must battle and they are all shot wonderfully to suck us into the story as we don’t know what will happen in each fire. This does help keep us on the edge of our seats at times but we know we don’t need to worry about Jack during the flack backs.

SettingsThe settings show us just how dangerous battling fires can be, how the men risk their lives and how they can be different on each occasion.

Special EffectsAll the effects are used to make the fires look as dangerous as they should be which is good to see throughout the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that will make you respect the firefighters of the world even more because you get to see how much they are willing to risk to save people’s lives. It is shot very well with the only negative being knowing there is only one fire Jack is in any peril through.


Overall: One for all the action thriller fans out there.




ABC Film Challenge – Random – I – Inherent Vice (2014)

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson (Screenplay) Thomas Pynchon (Novel)

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio Del Toro, Jena Malone, Maya Rudolph, Martin Short


Plot: In 1970, drug-fueled Los Angeles private investigator Larry “Doc” Sportello investigates the disappearance of a former girlfriend.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: 2 and Half Hours too Long


Story: Inherent Vice starts as private investigator Larry ‘Doc’ Spotello (Phoenix) who gets a visit from his ex-girlfriend Shasta (Waterston) needing his help dealing with the latest job she is on with her boyfriend Michael Z Wolfmann (Roberts). When he goes missing Lt. Det. Christian F ‘Bigfoot’ Bjornsen (Brolin) leads the case which also sees Shasta go missing too.

As the case continues to unfold Doc finds himself meet a string of different characters who all have different pieces of information that will help solve the case.


Thoughts on Inherent Vice


Characters/PerformanceDoc is our main character and he is a hippie private investigator that has connections all over town and finds himself in the middle of a big cast.

Performance wise, Phoenix is good but to be fair due to the slightly boring story the actors don’t have much to work with.

StoryThe story here is a crime story as we watch how a PI must solve a missing persons case and what the bigger picture to everything is, it would be fair to say this is very boring and not interesting in anyway.

Comedy/CrimeThere is no comedy in this film, I am pretty confident in saying that, the crime story is fine but not very interesting either.

SettingsThe settings look fine for the time period in question but otherwise nothing comes off truly memorable.

Final ThoughtsThis was a boring story with an all-star cast that don’t get the chance to show their abilities.


Overall: Sometimes you just need to miss a film and this is one of them.




Amy Adams Weekends – The Master (2012)

asterDirector: Paul Thomas Anderson

Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson (Screenplay)

Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Ambyr Childers, Rami Malek, Jesse Plemons


Plot: A Naval veteran arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future – until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Missed Opportunity


Story: The Master starts as we follow the naval veteran Freddie Quell (Phoenix) as he returns after World War II, he struggles to find a place after what he has been through working as a photographer at a before moving on to a farm job. Struggling with everyday life after the war Freddie finds himself on-board a boat, the boat offers him a chance to meet Lancaster Dodd (Hoffman).

On-board the ship Freddie learns that Lancaster is leading a cult like group of people that believe each moment on all lives lived are able to be communicated and Lancaster sees Freddie as his protégé. As the group gathers momentum we see how Freddie is embracing where he is within the cult but will his nature push the limit of how the Master sees him.

The Master is a drama showing the slow rise of a cult like group that should be one of the more compelling stories out there, the problem is that it comes off very slow and you never really believe the cause they are trying to bring together. The acting can’t be questioned but everything just feels very messy and almost never goes in a direction that makes much sense. I may have misunderstood the film in which case I do apologise but in all honesty I didn’t enjoy this story.


Actor Review


Philip Seymour Hoffman: Lancaster Dodd is the leader of ‘The Cause’ he has the power to pull people into his belief and sees Freddie as a protégé what could continue spreading the word. We can see the comparison of Scientology with this character.  Philip is great in this role as you would expect from the late great.

Joaquin Phoenix: Freddie Quell is a Naval veteran of World War II, he is struggling with life once he has returned but when he ends up on Lancaster Dodd’s boat he joins The Cause as the protégé to the Master. He is aggressive and easily switched into a fight mode. Joaquin shines in this role showing the full range of emotion needed.

Amy Adams: Peggy Dodd is the wife of Lancaster and firm believer in the Cause so much so that she does have a big say in what is going on behind the show Lancaster puts on. Amy is also good in this role standing strong next to the leading men.

Support Cast: The Master has a strong supporting cast that all do a great job in a film where acting isn’t the problem.

Director Review: Paul Thomas AndersonPaul is a director that has given us some of the best films we have ever seen but this time I feel the film gets dragged down with a slow story.


Drama: The Master is a drama that doesn’t seem to get enough out of the potential story it has but can’t have anything bad to say about the acting.

Settings: The Master doesn’t have any memorable settings trying to make us feel like a cult could be raised within your local neighbourhood.

Suggestion: The Master is one film I think people would like but I can see many people like myself not enjoying this. (Try It)


Best Part: The acting.

Worst Part: The Story


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: Nominated for 3 Oscars

Budget: $32 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 24 Minutes


Overall: Brilliantly acted but such a slow moving story.




Franchise Weekend – 8MM (1999)

8mmDirector: Joel Schumacher

Writer: Andrew Kevin Walker (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Joaquin Phoenix, James Gandolfini, Peter Stormare, Anthony Heald, Chris Bauer, Catherine Keener, Myra Carter, Amy Morton


Plot: A private investigator is hired to discover if a “snuff film” is authentic or not.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Gripping Mystery Thriller


Story: 8MM starts as we meet private investigator Tom Welles (Cage) who is one of the most respected in the business. His latest job finds him working got Daniel Longdale (Heald) attorney to Mrs Christian (Carter) who finds an unusual film in her late husband safe, one that seems like a snuff film. Tom is hired to investigate whether it is a real tape or just clever piece of art.

Tom’s investigation which he disguises as a missing persons case leads him to Mary Ann Mathews (Powell) who has been missing for years. Learning about her disappearance Tom finds himself delving into the pornographic underworld of Hollywood. Tom recruits Max California (Phoenix) an employee from an adult store to take him into the underworld.

The deeper Tom gets into the world the more leads that get opened for him to investigate as he starts with producer Eddie Poole (Gandolfini) before finding himself in deeper than he could ever have imagined.

8MM takes us into a world we haven’t entered before as we watch how the underworld of porn has turned into the world of snuff. While the investigation is twisted filled and very much what you would expect it to be, it is the idea of the sexual drive from the villains that adds a disturbing factor to it all. We see this with how Tom reacts to everything in the film. I will say this contains a lot of disturbing material that can’t be easily watched but this does help show how far the world can go into darkness.


Actor Review


Nicolas Cage: Tom Welles is a well-respected private investigator, his latest job brings him into the seedy underworld of the pornographic as he looks for a missing person that could have been a victim of a snuff film. He must use all his skills to get into the world where he learns the shocking truth. Nicolas is good in this role where we get to see him in a dark situation compared to action star he has become.tom

Joaquin Phoenix: Max California works in an adult story, he has connections to the pornographic underworld as he teams up with Tom to uncover the truth about the snuff world. Joaquin is good in this role showing he is willing to take on the stranger roles.mike

James Gandolfini: Eddie Poole is an adult film producer that Tom starts investigating, he is as seedy as them come but does know something about the missing girl. James is good in the supporting role but we just don’t see enough of his character.

Peter Stormare: Dino Velvet is the pornographic producer that deals with all over the extreme porn, he is above Eddie in the chain that could well be the man behind the film Tom is investigating. Peter is solid in this role you could easily see him in but we don’t see enough of him.

Support Cast: 8MM has a supporting cast that all help the final outcome of the film, we have people who have been effected in their own way.

Director Review: Joel SchumacherJoel gives us an intense mystery thriller that pushes the boundaries of right and wrong.


Crime: 8MM takes us into the underworld of the porn industry where the snuff movies do get made by the people involved.

Mystery: 8MM does keep us wondering what is happening and who will be involved.

Thriller: 8MM manages to keep us on the edge throughout the film.

Settings: 8MM takes us to all the underworld areas to show how the perverts of the world can find what they want.
Special Effects
: 8MM has good effects to show the kills being involved.

Suggestion: 8MM is one to try, I do think it will be difficult to watch for certain people. (Try It)


Best Part: Eddie has to pay.

Worst Part: Hard to watch.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Sadly, Yes

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $40 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

Tagline: You are never prepared for the truth

Trivia: The enema porno film seen at the porn swap meet is a genuine S&M film that was heavily edited for inclusion in the main movie.


Overall: Difficult to watch but good watch throughout.