Joe (Roadside Attractions, CR: Linda Kallerus)

There are many takeaways from Joe, a drama that centers on an ex-convict’s (Nicolas Cage) friendship with a hard working yet troubled teenager (Tye Sheridan). Along with first rate performances. the feature is one of filmmaker’s David Gordon Green’s most stirring efforts, as the narrative, which is based on the Larry Brown novel, contains the danger of Undertow and the evocative feel of George Washington and All The Real Girls. Even if this film is influences by some of his earlier work, Green turns Joe into a distinctly singular experience, as it will be hard to find a more memorable character on screen this year than Joe Ransom.

Cage’s work as Ransom isn’t the only standout in the film, as Gary Poulter, who plays the teenage boy’s abusive, alcoholic dad, is also memorable. In the production notes, Green recalled why he hired Poulter, who was discovered by casting director John Willims on the streets of Austin, Texas. “We were looking for drifters who were real and interesting and Gary had just a beautiful look to him. You could see the lost soul behind his eyes. He was missing part of an ear, as he was just as much interrogating John as John was interviewing him. There was something special there.”

Unfortunately, Poulter’s acting career didn’t travel beyond “Joe,” as he died in March 2013. During the press conference, Cage, Sheridan, and Green talked about working with Poulter. Click on the media below to hear their comments:

To hear how Nicolas Cage connects a scene in Joe with Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Häägen-Dazs, and his professor-father, check out my Deepest Dream post.

Joe opens in select theaters and On Demand this Friday.

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posted by Greg Srisavasdi