You Were Never Really Here

R, 89 minutes


Lynne Ramsay’s (Ratcatcher, Morvern Callar, We Need to Talk About Kevin) new thriller, YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE, based on the book by Jonathan Ames, made waves last year at the Cannes Film Festival, where it played in competition, and won awards for Ramsay’s screenplay and star Joaquin Phoenix’s lead performance. Joe (Phoenix) is a traumatized veteran, unafraid of violence, who 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. Echoes of Taxi Driver and Drive weave their way through this unforgettable film, but it’s also very distinctly a Ramsay production, featuring stunning sound design, striking imagery, and brilliant use of music—in this case, another great score by the one-and-only Jonny Greenwood. (2018, Lynne Ramsay, 89 mins, U.K., English, R, DCP)


“There are obvious nods to “Taxi Driver” in this material, as well as some nods to “The Big Sleep,” too, with a brave lone figure strolling into an evil world where politics and sexual exploitation filter into the top echelons of society. “You Were Never Really Here” has a jittery caffeinated energy reminiscent of the great sleazeball thrillers of the 1970s and ’80s, gritty New York movies, corrupt cop movies. Ramsay’s gift of invention is in overdrive (the title credit screen is practically worth the price of admission), and her approach is audacious.” — Sheila O’Malley,

“The entire, whippet-lean film feels like an experiment in impressionist condensation, as though Ramsay is testing the limits of how little she can give us, and how weird it can be, while still delivering a recognizable revenge thriller.” — Jessica Kiang, The Playlist


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