Review: You Were Never Really Here (2017)

An exciting filmmaker, Lynne Ramsay's You Were Never Really Here is a masterpiece. Joaquin Phoenix's steely determined contract killer Joe rescues young girls from sex trafficking whilst battling his own internal agonies; as a Gulf War veteran, ex FBI agent and abused child, he is clearly suffering from PTSD and his life is anguished. His care goes to his elderly mother; there is no-one else in his life that he can care for. He doesn't engage with society and he lurks in the dark to deliver on his jobs...and he delivers violently. A hammer is his weapon of choice.
Joe is sent on a mission to rescue a senator's abducted daughter Nina (Ekaterina Samsonov) from a brothel. We know Joe is efficient and quick, but then things go wrong. Very wrong indeed. We are shown graphic moments of violence but a lot of the time, the camera keeps away from the hammer attacks and brutality. What happens in our minds is indeed stronger.
With a haunting score by Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood and stunning cinematography from Thomas Townend, it's a film to feast your eyes on as well as one that will stay with you many hours after watching it. It doesn't give a satisfying denouement but that's part of its chilling charm.
Watch it for: Another knock out from the talented Ramsay
Watch out for: A surprise assassin