You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2018)

Discuss films of the 21st century including current cinema, current filmmakers, and film festivals.
Message
Author
User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2018)

#26 Post by swo17 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:52 am

mfunk9786 wrote:Considering that opening per-screen box office for the film, hopefully its emergence (being deliberately vague here for the sake of our forum rules) doesn't negatively impact it too badly as it expands.
When it comes to your area, you should MoviePass it every day even if you don't watch it each time.

User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2018)

#27 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:54 am

Apparently MoviePass has been flagging people who buy a ticket and don't register as having their GPS signal at the theater for a substantial length of time - there were cases of people using MoviePass just to briefly get into the bathroom at theaters in big cities (which is the kind of thing I can tragically understand all too well). You run the risk of having your account turned off if you just buy a ticket and leave often enough to grab their attention.

With the sound design in particular of this film (and my lack of hearing in one ear) the big screen, big surround sound experience will be a must if I can find the time.


User avatar
mistakaninja
Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:15 pm

Re: You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2018)

#29 Post by mistakaninja » Mon Apr 09, 2018 1:04 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:
SpoilerShow
What is your reading of what occurred with the guards at the house? It appeared they'd been shot, rather skillfully at that - was that Nina too? That's the element of the occurrences at the governor's mansion that didn't necessarily add up to me as anything but Joe dissociating.
SpoilerShow
I think Joe killed them with his hammer. There are two guards. The first one is on the floor outside by the gates and Joe has already passed him in the shot. He doesn't find him on the floor. I saw it that his head wound is from Joe's hammer. Similarly, the shot of the second guy, who is on the floor inside, we cut to the shot with Joe at the fella's feet, already moving on. I think Ramsay wasn't interested in having more explicit hammertime so came into the shots after Joe had clonked them. It didn't even occur to me that someone else might have killed them. I've watched the scene back and I'm still pretty sure Joe did for them. Nina took Williams by surprise and carved his throat open, rendering him unable to call out, so the guard inside never knew she had killed him.
mfunk9786 wrote:
SpoilerShow
when Joe asked if his mother was frightened when she died. Considering their past together, it is absolutely an understandable question for him to ask, and concern for him to have, and it is not the sort of question that most hard-boiled, manly grunt characters in this sort of film would ask. Maybe it was on the page in the novella, but it felt like Ramsay's presence that drew that kind of heartbreaking nuance out of the story.
SpoilerShow
That line isn't in the novel. There's no talking in that scene at all on the page.

Incidentally, for anyone who hasn't read it, the book is incredibly short. I'd be surprised if it was over 25k words. You can read it in about the time it'd take to watch the movie.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2018)

#30 Post by domino harvey » Mon Apr 09, 2018 1:22 pm

I thought the same thing, RE: the guards. I thought maybe I'd missed something when reading mfunk's description, but glad to hear my initial assumption is supported by what's shown, as I think it would be beyond even this film's credibility for the person in question to be responsible here as well

User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2018)

#31 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:26 pm

A bit of Joe’s disorientation must have rubbed off on me at that moment. More reason to revisit it.

User avatar
DarkImbecile
LightGenius
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:24 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM

Re: You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2018)

#32 Post by DarkImbecile » Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:08 pm

This was incredible - an exhilarating, disorienting, unsettling experience that had me completely on board from the opening moments (the title reveal might be my favorite ever). Joaquin Phoenix and Jonny Greenwood are the maybe the best in their respective fields, and are absolutely at the top of their game here throughout, and Ramsay and cinematographer Thomas Townend deliver so many striking images in only 90 minutes that I could list two dozen off the top of my head the morning after seeing it and still miss twice as many that are just as remarkable.

Discord is the concept that kept resonating with me during and after the film, from Greenwood's score to the editing to Joe and Nina seeming almost constantly out of place in whatever situation they happen to be in. I found the back-and-forth between highly stylized imagery and more conventional staging of mundane domestic moments indicative of Joe's roiling mindset: one minute he's playfully bantering with his mother and the next he's compelled to wrap his head in a dry cleaning bag. The sound design is similarly bipolar, to great effect: for one example, the transition from the surreal, gorgeous Night of the Hunter-echoing underwater scenes to a standard tracking shot of Phoenix walking back through the woods is marked by the loud gasp right as he comes up for air, back from deep inside his head to the real world. And of course, the most memorable example of this has been discussed at length above (and will continue to be as the larger cinephile culture absorbs this film):
SpoilerShow
the final scenes in the diner with Joe's fantasy suicide are a stunning epilogue to the nearly complete breakdown he has in the Governor's house, and the heightened sound of the patrons continuing their banal chattering while obliviously drenched in gore is one of the most unnervingly discordant moments in a film built on them.
To build on the theme of discord, while I don't love the Film Comment review's articulation of the political subtext and don't think Ramsay is reacting to anything overly specific, I do think that commentary on the contradictions and subversions present in modern America is there throughout: men in suits with American flag pins are violently defending corruption and exploitation, while a grimy, bearded man in a hoodie is the force for good. The real evil being done in the film isn't in the grimy back alleys or the working class shops, but in Midtown brownstones and suburban mansions. Joe is a man deeply scarred by what he's done for his country, and does his greatest service in going after the kind of men who sent him overseas.

To build on swo's assertion, this is exactly the kind of film you should MoviePass every day it's playing near you and actually watch it each time. However you pay for it, I strongly encourage people to see this in a theater, especially as the muscular sound mix is a huge factor in its mesmerizing, immersive effect.

Some other notes and questions:
SpoilerShow
mistakaninja wrote:... the obvious hallucinations of his mother and himself in the house ...
I don't think that's an image of himself Joe sees mid-breakdown in the mansion, but of his father, who we see in flashbacks as the one from whom he got the habit of covering his face and the fetishistic use of the hammer.
diamonds wrote: The Limey did a much better job toying with the revenge narrative, with an even bolder version of the editing on display here, even if it was for a somewhat different purpose (memory as opposed to trauma).
I love The Limey as well, and see the connection between the elliptical editing schemes, but I would be hesitant to consider You Were Never Really Here a "revenge narrative" of the standard type; Joe isn't avenging anything for the first half of the movie, and it's not like his modus operandi changes much even when he is. This is much more a film about the dislocating and unmooring effects of trauma, as you say.

Minor question: There's a particular shot quickly mixed in during the shots of his younger mother cowering under the dining room table - as the gutshot agent who killed her later does - of what looked like the scarred legs of a boy walking down the hall. My interpretation was that he was self-harming as a child even beyond the auto-asphyxiation in response to the abuse in his home, but it was a quick enough shot and one disconnected enough from the rest of the imagery we get that I'm curious if I'm missing something.

Second minor question: I at first assumed that when recovering after Nina is taken from the hotel, he uses pliers to pull his own tooth - which must have been damaged in the fight with the cop - and examines it for a oddly long time. But then he pours alcohol on the outside of his face, and later seems to have a hole in his cheek. Was that... the hotel clerk's tooth, blasted through Joe's face when he was shot in front of him?

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2018)

#33 Post by domino harvey » Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:24 pm

Re: second spoiler question
SpoilerShow
I assumed it was tooth/bone fragments or the tail end of the bullet from the clerk's exit wound into Phoenix. Either way is gross 2 the max, but novel nonetheless

User avatar
diamonds
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2016 2:35 pm

Re: You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2018)

#34 Post by diamonds » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:05 pm

DarkImbecile wrote:I love The Limey as well, and see the connection between the elliptical editing schemes, but I would be hesitant to consider You Were Never Really Here a "revenge narrative" of the standard type; Joe isn't avenging anything for the first half of the movie, and it's not like his modus operandi changes much even when he is. This is much more a film about the dislocating and unmooring effects of trauma, as you say.
Perhaps revenge was too narrow. I meant it as the latest in a long line of films about damaged men on society's fringes who are driven to violent "missions" of sorts. The film has elicited many comparisons to Taxi Driver, certainly the archetypal film, and stuff like Le Samouraï, Man on Fire, even Taken or Drive all share the same DNA as this film. In that sense, You Were Never Really Here's narrative is quite standard.

User avatar
Brian C
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:58 am
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2018)

#35 Post by Brian C » Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:52 pm

I think mfunk's comment about this being Pizzagate: The Movie is terrifically witty and insightful, but maybe in a different way than he intended, because I have to very emphatically part ways when it comes to the implications of that label. Like Pizzagate, I thought this was a creepy, sensationalist piece of garbage that is designed to appeal to the worst of its targeted audience.

Every filmmaker knows that audiences love to gawk at women being threatened with sexual violence, so it's generally a pretty slimy move, but replacing those women with children is particularly slimy. That's especially true in this case because there's no real reason for that to be Joe's chosen specialty - it plays like nothing more than a very calculated choice to get audiences to cheer for a guy who loves to whomp people with hammers. It's so transparently trashy that I'm having trouble understanding how anyone can defend it.

It's not like the movie has anything novel to say about its characters or, well, anything really. Joe presumably has PTSD, but the upshot to this is that he acts like everyone always does when they have PTSD in movies, by which I mean being consumed by flashbacks that prevent them from doing anything except what the plot demands they do (in this case, mostly whomping people with hammers). And it's not like the movie has any insight into the sexual trafficking phenomenon, since that storyline is just a nonsense conspiracy that could have been ripped out of any other dumb movie.

Really, the movie is nothing but standard exploitation crap given an art-movie veneer. It has some elliptical editing and a nontraditional score, so critics and upscale audiences can stroke their inner latenight-Cinemax guilty-pleasure erogenous zones without sacrificing their oh-so-discerning self-images. Well, count me out. This movie is pure bullshit from start to finish.

User avatar
DarkImbecile
LightGenius
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:24 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM

Re: You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2018)

#36 Post by DarkImbecile » Sun Apr 22, 2018 12:09 am

Brian C wrote:Really, the movie is nothing but standard exploitation crap given an art-movie veneer. It has some elliptical editing and a nontraditional score, so critics and upscale audiences can stroke their inner latenight-Cinemax guilty-pleasure erogenous zones without sacrificing their oh-so-discerning self-images.
You say this like it’s a bad thing.

User avatar
willoneill
Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:10 am
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Re: You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2018)

#37 Post by willoneill » Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:04 am

Brian C wrote:Really, the movie is nothing but standard exploitation crap given an art-movie veneer. It has some elliptical editing and a nontraditional score, so critics and upscale audiences can stroke their inner latenight-Cinemax guilty-pleasure erogenous zones without sacrificing their oh-so-discerning self-images. Well, count me out. This movie is pure bullshit from start to finish.
Poor choice of words, dude; a woman had a stroke in the middle of my screening late last night.

MongooseCmr
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2012 11:50 pm

Re: You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2018)

#38 Post by MongooseCmr » Thu Apr 26, 2018 2:14 pm

I hadn’t considered any part of this being imagined as suggested above, but We Need to Talk About Kevin completely botches the unreliable narrator that must be present in the book to me, and if that was intended here I question why Ramsey is so drawn to these stories when she doesn’t seem to have a firm grasp on portraying that narrative vagueness.
Last edited by MongooseCmr on Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

connor
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:03 pm

Re: You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2018)

#39 Post by connor » Thu Apr 26, 2018 2:36 pm

I was pretty underwhelmed by the whole thing and I'm someone who went in ready to embrace the trashiness of it. It has a lot less to say than it thinks it does. It had a good sense of humor, I'll give it that.

User avatar
All the Best People
Joined: Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:08 pm
Contact:

Re: You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2018)

#40 Post by All the Best People » Fri Apr 27, 2018 3:34 am

diamonds wrote:I wanted to like this film more than I did. The plot is so straightforward, everything about it is so stripped down, that I found it became rather ineffectual. I'd hardly even call it a deconstruction; though the elision of almost all violence is something of a commentary on the genre (and is done well), I didn't find much else about it to be particularly subversive. The intrusive flashbacks that reveal Joe's prior trauma only occasionally have any visceral intensity. Aside from
SpoilerShow
the faces of the girls in the storage container,
they were rather weightless, purely functional rather than revelatory. The Limey did a much better job toying with the revenge narrative, with an even bolder version of the editing on display here, even if it was for a somewhat different purpose (memory as opposed to trauma).

Gina Telaroli offered a take I found interesting in Film Comment:
Extraordinarily, Ramsay’s film is not about people; instead it uses them and their bodies to explore American systems of power, and the abuse that develops within. The political, monetary, and sexual forces that cause people to act are on display here, as are the physical consequences of said actions, with all emotion and psychology removed.
It's a different way of looking at the film, and I'd be curious to see if anyone can expand upon that convincingly given how bare-bones the plot is and how focused it is on Joe. To me that quote better describes a film like Eyes Wide Shut, which accomplishes everything she describes more effectively than this film does, and is infinitely more disturbing. You Were Never Really Here really does seem to want to be about Joe and to explore his trauma, I'm just not fully convinced it did in a novel, compelling way. I'm sympathetic to a lot of what the film is doing though, so I'd be open to revisiting it somewhere down the line.
The undercurrent driving the film is that Joe is always a tool of those in power, his life and sanity expendable. By "undercurrent", I guess I mean "current" -- that thing above the subtext they never talk about -- because it's all just there on the surface and I don't think there's any more to it.

I did like the filmmaking, but I'm not sure about the film that was made; I saw it last week and have already rather forgotten it, despite being mostly engaged while watching it.

User avatar
Foam
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 12:47 am

Re: You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2018)

#41 Post by Foam » Sun May 06, 2018 11:09 pm

I thought the flashbacks in this were film-ruiningly superficial. While I appreciate Ramsay's stylistic development in Kevin, this had me longing for the filmmaker behind Morvern Callar. The level of detail applied to moral ambiguity is much more extensive and richly developed there, precisely because it never relies upon such cheap, clanging, overly-revealing techniques. In Morvern we're immersed in a whole atmosphere of perfectly choreographed, actorly details which we must keep returning to in order to explore the tantalizingly irresolvable questions about who exactly it is we're dealing with. This film is trying to do that while also having pseudo-deep psychologistic simplifications. Well I'm sorry, but you can't have the full benefit of both at the same time.

I'll give it some credit: Phoenix, Greenwood, Ramsay, and Townend all do a lot of handsome work to make us expect that we're in the presence of real greatness. There are moments of this that are close to the best moments in Claire Denis' similarly dark work. But all of that micro-level craft is flushed down the toilet due to these macro-level Film School 101 techniques.

User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2018)

#42 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed May 23, 2018 11:43 am


User avatar
Lost Highway
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:41 am
Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2018)

#43 Post by Lost Highway » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:13 am

Watched this last night and yet again I’m left bewildered as to why anybody thinks Ramsey is a good director, she’s the art house Zach Snyder. Every shot looks great, nothing hangs together to tell the story. I can’t think of another acclaimed director where there is such a disconnect between style and content. Phoenix is left to overact like crazy to wring something out of the most cliched of characters and the whole thing ends up as a 90 minute pop promo for Greenwood's score rather than the score aiding the movie.

User avatar
Adam Grikepelis
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:04 am

Re: You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2018)

#44 Post by Adam Grikepelis » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:49 am

See Ratcatcher & Morvern Callar if you’ve not already. If she’s not your cup of tea, that’s fine, but she’s far from a bad director and comparing her to Zach Snyder is simply wilful hyperbole.

User avatar
Lost Highway
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:41 am
Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2018)

#45 Post by Lost Highway » Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:46 am

I've seen Morvern Callar and thought it had many of the same problems as her last two features, though the mixtape quality of the movie lent itself better to her "every shot a piece of art "approach. Zach Snyders aesthetics may be different but I really do think they are quite similar in prioritising individual shots over characterisation, structure and story-telling. I'm not opposed to a good style-over-content movie, but with her last two movies (I haven't seen her debut feature and I doubt I will now) I just think her approach did a disservice to the material. We Need to Talk About About Kevin could have been a piercing character study but was flattened into a dull horror flick full of groan-worthy symbolism. You Were Never Really Here was supposed to be an action thriller (and as such the most generic of premises with the most generic of protagonists) where she clearly hasn't mastered the basics of the genre. I'm sure her defenders would call it a deconstruction, but I don't buy it.

If we are talking about a female director tackling generic exploitation material with oodles of style, Coralie Fargeat's Revenge which expertly handles the specifics of the genre while also commenting on them.

User avatar
jazzo
Joined: Sun Nov 17, 2013 12:02 am

Re: You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2018)

#46 Post by jazzo » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:14 pm

I haven't seen You Were Never Really Here yet (though I did love the short novel its based on), but I tend to agree with pretty much everything Lost Highway has leveled at Ramsay. I want to like them more. I wish I liked them more, but they have a real student film vibe to them that I can't get past.

I will say, however, that she captures a real sense of texture with her use of light, colour and sound that most directors can't even conceive of, and quite honestly, that is worth the price of admission alone. But after four films, I'm just not sure I need to pay it anymore.

User avatar
MoonlitKnight
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:44 pm

Re: You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2018)

#47 Post by MoonlitKnight » Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:34 am

Not to mention she's managed to make only 4 films in 20 years; she often seems attached to various projects that have fallen apart while she was associated with them ("The Lovely Bones," "Jane Got a Gun," etc.), which would lead one to believe that she's not particularly the most reliable filmmaker in terms of working with others. Or am I reading too much into it?

User avatar
Adam Grikepelis
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:04 am

Re: You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2018)

#48 Post by Adam Grikepelis » Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:49 am

I've not yet seen You Were Never Really Here, and really don't remember how I felt about We Need to Talk About Kevin as I've only watched it once, so I can only comment in relation to her first two features.
I do feel, Lost Highway, like we're looking for different things in cinema based on your comments. I've found those two films to be pretty mesmerising, and find that while there's a narrative that holds things together, they're very much about character more than anything else. Not the mundane approach of watching a character go through experience and evolve changed at the end of it, but rather bearing witness to a characters experience from a very subjective point of view. The style, visual and aural, supports this - they're not about telling you a story with a boring three-act structure. They're about seeing and feeling a transformative moment in a character's life.
Not all filmmakers continue on the same tangent they started with, so with this latest work, she may well've produced something as vacuous & horrible as a Zach Synder production, but I have a very hard time believing it; yet there are plenty of directors, writers, musicians, who started out with wonderful work only for that early promise to quickly peter out. Focussing on a film needing to prioritise "characterisation, structure and story-telling" is, I feel, missing what Ramsay is doing in favour of what you feel she should be doing.

And I wouldn't say the number of films a director has made is any indication of their worth as a filmmaker. Not everyone is willing or able to produce a film every two or three years, especially when they're not working within a system like Hollywood, though I've never personally been interested in an artist's personal relations anywhere near as much as I am in the work they produce. Besides, pretty much every filmmaker has had many projects that haven't made it to fruition. There are obviously many more factors involved than the personality of the director.

User avatar
Altair
Joined: Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:56 pm
Location: England

Re: You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2018)

#49 Post by Altair » Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:58 am

MoonlitKnight wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:34 am
Not to mention she's managed to make only 4 films in 20 years; she often seems attached to various projects that have fallen apart while she was associated with them ("The Lovely Bones," "Jane Got a Gun," etc.), which would lead one to believe that she's not particularly the most reliable filmmaker in terms of working with others. Or am I reading too much into it?
I haven't seen any Lynne Ramsay films (but that's my fault), but this seems such a weird critique: Terrence Malick made two films in twenty-five years, and did anyone seriously question his talent because of that?

nitin
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2014 6:49 am

Re: You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2018)

#50 Post by nitin » Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:41 am

That Charles Laughton must be a real terrible director too.

Post Reply