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Joe (2014)



Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 118
Fresh: 101 | Rotten: 17

Rich in atmosphere and anchored by a powerful performance from Nicolas Cage, Joe is a satisfying return to form for its star -- as well as director David Gordon Green.


Average Rating: 7.1/10
Critic Reviews: 34
Fresh: 27 | Rotten: 7

Rich in atmosphere and anchored by a powerful performance from Nicolas Cage, Joe is a satisfying return to form for its star -- as well as director David Gordon Green.



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Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 14,954

My Rating

Movie Info

A gripping mix of friendship, violence and redemption erupts in the contemporary South in this adaptation of Larry Brown's novel, celebrated at once for its grit and its deeply moving core. Directed by David Gordon Green, JOE film brings Academy Award (R) winner Nicolas Cage back to his indie roots in the title role as the hard-living, hot-tempered, ex-con Joe Ransom, who is just trying to dodge his instincts for trouble - until he meets a hard-luck kid, (MUD's Tye Sheridan) who awakens in him a



Larry Brown, Gary Hawkins

Jun 17, 2014


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June 17, 2014:
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All Critics (118) | Top Critics (34) | Fresh (101) | Rotten (17) | DVD (1)

The shifting tones keep the movie both buoyant and firmly grounded, and playing out in a sphere pitched somewhere between the mythic and the muddy.

May 2, 2014 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
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A tough rural drama by David Gordon Green that digs deep in all the right ways.

May 1, 2014 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
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It's young Sheridan's Gary who makes the film work, with his mix of earnest ambition, stubborn courage and hopeful endurance. He gives "Joe" the honesty it needs.

April 18, 2014 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
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A small-scale, expertly acted character study in which Cage plays an ex-con trying to make a quiet living in a backwater Texas town and trying, above all, to keep certain troublesome character tendencies in check.

April 17, 2014 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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What happens along the way isn't particularly surprising to those familiar with Southern gothic sensibilities. But if the path is predictable, the acting is not.

April 17, 2014 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
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For Nicolas Cage, whose dumb, rant-for-hire projects have lately been making audiences forget how good he can be, Joe is more than a rescue - it's a re-birth.

April 11, 2014 Full Review Source: NPR
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Generally as raw as the steaks that Cage manfully cuts from the carcass of an impaled deer, the high whiff of which seeps through every frame of the film.

July 27, 2014 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Nicolas Cage dials down the craziness to deliver a performance of true sensitivity and depth in this absorbing American indie drama.

July 27, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Talk
Movie Talk

There is a pleasing synchronicity between Joe's attempts to stem his temper and the effort made by Cage to keep his own actorly excesses in check.

July 25, 2014 Full Review Source: Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound

Bearded redneck turns out to be a good look for Cage, who puts in his best screen performance since Werner Herzog'sBad Lieutenant

July 25, 2014 Full Review Source: Irish Times
Irish Times

Nicolas Cage gives a rare internalised performance in this atmospheric drama, which has a stronger sense of its location than it does of its story.

July 25, 2014 Full Review Source:

With a bolder script, Joe could have been a Texan masterpiece to rank alongside Badlands.

July 25, 2014 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

The character could so easily have encouraged him to chew the scenery or lose himself in eccentricity but Cage responds with understatement and a sense of a man fighting to master his fate.

July 24, 2014 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

Green specialises in a soulful naturalism, and Joe contrasts moments of Malick-style lyricism with scenes of extreme brutality.

July 24, 2014 Full Review Source: Independent

Joe is a gripping drama with a powerful moral core, that has sympathy for those trying to make their way alone through the world, but doesn't give them much of a chance.

July 24, 2014 Full Review Source: Independent

David Gordon Green returns to his indie roots to create a world that is sordid, dirty, cruel, and whose only hope comes from the same place as the badness does, human nature.

July 24, 2014 Full Review Source: Irish Independent
Irish Independent

An understated Nicolas Cage - there's a phrase you don't get to write too often these days - anchors a superbly realised film, which, like its eponymous hero, has a brittle outer shell concealing a surprisingly warm heart.

July 24, 2014 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Exudes a quiet determination that American cinema could use more of.

July 24, 2014 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

After running a few fool's errands for Hollywood with the likes of Pineapple Express, Your Highness and The Sitter, director David Gordon Green makes a serious return to indie business with a full-blown case o' the Mississippi blues.

July 24, 2014 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

The plot griddles its right-on themes. Deforestation; social deprivation; child abuse; alcohol abuse . . .  It's a long menu and the food isn't any good.

July 24, 2014 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

Here is a seething piece of social-realist Southern gothic, featuring a powerful performance from a big and broodingly bearded Nicolas Cage.

July 24, 2014 Full Review Source: Guardian

Moody, melancholy and well-intentioned, Joe works better as a character study than the melodramatic parable that it eventually embraces.

July 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Scotsman

Green's soul-baring Southern noir has much to say about those who speak with their fists and is a masterwork of threatening melancholy.

July 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Green doesn't take the obvious route, looping in and out of a series of incidents instead of chaining them too tightly in cause and effect, creating real intrigue around Joe and his impulse to destroy.

July 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Digital Spy
Digital Spy

What lifts Joe above similar stories, besides the acting, is Green's intense attentiveness to setting and atmosphere.

July 2, 2014 Full Review Source: Seven Days
Seven Days

Nicolas Cage is as if the question "Turn down for what?" took human form and then starred in a bunch of direct-to-DVD thrillers. For him, there is no such thing as a 'phoned-in' performance.

July 1, 2014 Full Review Source: Quickflix

Audience Reviews for Joe

A blisteringly intense, compelling and very powerful movie. Director, David Gordan Green finally returns to form with this southern drama that's gritty, gripping, deeply moving and brings us one of the best performances of Nicolas Cage's career.Green's best movie in years. Nicolas Cage has never been better, finally a return to greatness performance that shows he still has the goods. Cage is a total powerhouse, this movie is a must-see for his performance alone. An unforgettable piece of work by a great director and a tremendous star. Tye Sheridan gives a great and effective performance. This movie digs deep in all the right ways and hits you emotionally and hits you hard in the gut. This is strong drama at its very finest, its brilliant, riveting and haunting. A knockout. One of 2014's most impressive films by far. Bravo to all the work they put in on this one.
August 12, 2014

Super Reviewer

A grimy, dirty story of an ex-con named Joe (Nicolas Cage), who is running a successful tree poisoning business, until he slowly starts to become a father figure to an abused young boy (Tye Sheridan) who desperately wants to work for him and get away from his dangerous father (the late Gary Poulter). This film resembles "Mud" in many ways, especially by the presence of Sheridan who was in that film as well. However, what made "Mud" special was how the plot unfolded in a natural way and there seemed to be some direction behind the plot narrative. Here, the direction seems scattershot, like it does not know where it is going or what the point of the story is outside of "abuse is bad". The real treat here is the absolutely outstanding acting, especially from Cage who shows once again why he is one of the best actors on the planet when he is not doing stupid, silly blockbusters. Sheridan is special as well, and Poulter (an actual homeless man discovered and casted by the director) is Shakespearean level terrifying in his portrayal of a man with truly no soul. The movie has good intentions, and David Gordon Green is usually a solid director, but the way the plot unravels seems a bit contrived at times. Still, it may be worth seeing just for the performances alone, which are as said fantastic all-around.
August 3, 2014
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

The highlights of this film truly are the standout performances by the entire cast involved, and although "Joe" may seem a little slow moving at times, it is necessary to capture the emotion that each character shows in almost every scene here. To me, the film shares many elements from other from it's Texan tone to it's rundown families in need of money. As great as Ty Sheridan is, his performance last year in "Mud" is clearly showing once again here, as he played a very similar character. This is why I think actors (although they should do what they are good at) should try a bit more broadness to their careers. Again, he is just starting so I give him props for his great performance in this. Nicolas Cage has always been up and down with his films, but this is his best performance since "Bad Lieutenant." With a very solid story and fantastic performances, "Joe" is a very well-made film that I appreciate, but will probably never find myself watching again. The underlying tone was very off-putting to me and some of the shocking moments did not really need to be so graphic. Overall, it's a good movie that I am sure many will love.
July 6, 2014
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

Nearly every critique I've read so far has proclaimed the high point of "Joe" to be the standout performance of Nicolas Cage. I would even go so far as to say that I was bamboozled into watching this movie because of said enthusiastic reviews. But after taking careful note of his performance, here are my thoughts: Cage gives a watchable lead performance (nothing spectacular). But next to movies like "Stolen", "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance", "Trespass", "Drive Angry", "Season of the Witch", "Knowing", "Bangkok Dangerous", "Next", "Ghost Rider" and "The Wicker Man" remake, the argument can be made that Cage gives a performance which rivals the beginning of the McConaissance; even though more likely than not "Joe" is the beginning of nothing, and more of a respite between crappy movies.

Read the rest of my review at:

Follow me on Twitter @moviesmarkus
June 17, 2014
Markus Emilio Robinson
Markus Robinson

Super Reviewer

    1. Joe: Look at the moon.
    – Submitted by Jacob M (4 months ago)
    1. Connie: You pretend to be asleep, but I know you'd cry if I said the wrong thing.
    – Submitted by Jacob M (4 months ago)
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