- Joaquin Phoenix really gives a tour de force performance here. Phoenix brings such a physicality to his role that really is transfixing. He really puts you in awe throughout the film, whether that be with his interactions with his mother or when it’s time for him to do some dirty work. Also with his physicality Phoenix brings the past torment of his characters life, which he displays in many hard-hitting scenes. There are so many scenes where just his physical actions tell you everything we need to know. This is by far the best performance of the year so far & hopefully will get Oscar contention when that time comes around.
- Lynne Ramsay’s direction here is nothing short of phenomenal. She brings a strong “Taxi Driver” feel that adds so much to this films tone. But it is a Lynne Ramsay “Taxi Driver” tone, which is something different all together. That being her visual poetry style that works oh-so well with it. Ramsay also brings some very nightmare like imagery to some very quick flashbacks that put you in a near hypnotic state. Also her choice to do one action scene from the perspective of security cameras kind of perplexed me at first, but the more I thought about it the more it worked. Ramsay has really outdone herself here making it really hard for me not to call this film a masterpiece.
- The screenplay here by Ramsay brings an amazing dive inside the head of man torn to pieces by his past. The choice of flashbacks throughout the film that last legitimately just 1-2 seconds do so much with so little. The arc for our lead “Joe” is definitely one that will stay with me for years to go along with that incredible ending.
- Both the sound design & score here really collaborate on an extreme level. First off the score here by Jonny Greenwood here is just ridiculously good, his use of such a wide array of sounds really bring this film to a new peak environment. While the sound design just doubles down on that, while also help bringing the previously mentioned hypnotic states to life even more.
- The cinematography here by Thomas Townend does so much with bringing both the alleyways & visions seen by “Joe” to life. There are multiple sequences in this film that are just gorgeous. The one that stands out the most is by far a scene in a lake, which does some incredible things with water imagery & a striking beam of light.
- Also can’t go without mentioning the fantastic editing job by Joe Bini. The use of cuts here is something that will go overlooked by some viewers. Which is upsetting, because it’s done on a great level.