Joe (D.G. Green, 2013)

Joe (David Gordon Green, 2013)

Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.  –Proverbs 28:13

A comeback for David Gordon Green? Well, as I’ve already stated, I pretty much considered Prince Avalanche Green’s comeback, so I wasn’t as down on him as some at this point. But, yes, this is even closer still to his earlier works than anything in recent years. Joe captures the lives of a certain sect of individuals; it’s harsh and it’s brash but it’s truth. Using several locals to take on the smaller acting parts, Green found a real gem in Gary Poulter as the drunk, abusive father. Poulter was a local homeless man (who actually died on the streets not long after filming has wrapped) who brought to life his character with such natural grace and affection. Sure, he was playing a despicable human being, but at the same time somehow made him unobtrusively sympathetic instead of a stereotype. (Nothing is explicitly stated, but the way he handles himself in certain situations both publicly and privately wreaks of an upbringing of extreme neglect.)

joe

I’m glad Green was able to bring this character to the screen because, to be perfectly honest, the title character’s issues and the main mentor/mentee relationship was a bit underdeveloped. To be quite frank, I didn’t follow Joe’s character arc at all. Maybe in Green’s attempt to make Joe flawed, he went too far the other direction and made him a silly mess with no real breaking point. It was an odd presentation. Still, much of this flaw is covered by the brilliant depiction of other characters and the mostly spot on tone and atmosphere that accompany. I love these representations of rural life even when they do focus on hardships.  8.25/10

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