There’s an awful lot packed into these 85 minutes, and they’re all pretty intense.
Joaquin Phoenix is not averse to taking on an enigmatic role, and this fits the bill. Enigmatic in that he says little and with no exposition, the audience is left to work out what’s happening by simply following the action and with a few glimpses of flashback.
And although a lot of the violence isn’t directly on screen, that doesn’t mean that the idea of what we think we see isn’t there. It’s brutal. I also felt quite uncomfortable with the relationship between Phoenix’s character and the young girl he was assisting – I’m not sure I was meant to.
Phoenix’s Joe goes about his business clearly carrying his PTSD in his carrier bag with him, and Jonny Greenwood’s score is visceral in describing this.
I am glad I have seen this, but it was not easy at all.