As much as I might hope this film were a biopic of a beloved fellow Daily Grindhouse personality, it seems in fact to be the newest film from the prolific and mystifying anti-auteur David Gordon Green, who has made films as wonderful and as contrary as GEORGE WASHINGTON and PINEAPPLE EXPRESS. I love this guy’s work — all of it — because he goes wherever his muse takes him. If he wants to make a Malick-esque rural romance, he makes ALL THE REAL GIRLS. If he wants to make a dick-joke comedy, he makes YOUR HIGHNESS. If he wants to do a little of both, he does PRINCE AVALANCHE. Doesn’t seem to much matter to him whether he’s in the arthouse or the multiplex. In that light, it makes perfect sense that he and Nicolas Cage would find each other. Teamed with longtime Green cinematographer Tim Orr and young actor Tye Sheridan, who was so great in last year’s MUD, Cage and Green tell the story of an ex-con and a teenage boy who affect each others’ lives in surprising ways. There’s more than a little Tom Sawyer t0 that set-up, but JOE is more straight-faced drama than rollicking farce. Quite frankly, I’d take a David Gordon Green movie in either mode.
P.S. His last name is “Momma.”
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