EXCLUSIVE: After winning over critics at last spring’s Cannes Film Festival with an 80% fresh Rotten Tomatoes score, Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here from Amazon Studios is staking out Feb. 23 for a limited release.
The movie stars a sublime Joaquin Phoenix as Joe, a PTSD Gulf War vet/former FBI agent-turned-addled assassin who gets hired to bust a senator’s daughter out of a sex-trafficking ring. As per Phoenix’s standards, he loses himself in the role, and the three-time Oscar nominated actor worked closely with Ramsay in massaging his character’s arc. Or as Ramsay told us at Cannes about their 29-day sweaty New York City summer shoot, “We made the movie in a fevered pitch, like punk rock.” It’s a different type of noir that stands apart from Drive and Memento. “We wanted to get away from that type, and focus on the impotence of masculinity,” Phoenix also told us about their m.o. to break the mold on the typical Hollywood action crime hero.
Pic is based off Jonathan Ames’ novel. Rosa Attab, Pascal Caucheteux, Lynne Ramsay, and James Wilson are producers. Ekaterina Samsonov, Alex Manette and Alessandro Nivola also star. Film4, BFI and Why Not Productions financed the film.