I did not realize that ‘Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far On Foot’ was directed by Gus Van Sant until the credits/ I have always admired his work as a director, but I have mixed feelings about this film. He wrote the screenplay, which is based on the book by its subject: John Callahan, a cartoonist who is paraplegic. Apparently, Robin Williams, before he passed away, brought the project to Van Sant. I can only imagine what kind of film that collaboration would produce, but I bet it would be better than what we have here. This bio pic focuses more on his alcoholism, and how it was the cause of his vehicular accident that put him on a wheelchair. Plus, we get all the drama about him obsessing that he was given up for adoption by his mother. I was more interested in how he became a famous cartoonist. His work has a flair for the irreverent humor, and it kind of appealed to me, even though I was not really familiar with his work before this. That part of the story is touched upon very briefly here – his relationships take more center stage. Joaquin Phoenix tries his best to form a character here, but isn’t helped much. I only believed him half the time – there’s something off with his performance here. Jonah Hill fares a little better as John’s sponsor – a semi-flamboyant gay trust fund baby. But again, he isn’t much of a character, just decoration for the story. I thought the film felt oddly detached, and I left not knowing much about the main character.
There is no doubt that Lynn Ramsey’s ‘You Were Never Really Here’ is a great film. Based on Jonathan Ames’ novella, the movie screams art, with a very specific dark tone. It brings us to the mind of a killer – but this one is a tormented manic one – he is skillful and is best at what he does, but certainly in his mind he has conflicting emotions – he feels extremely tortured and disturbed by all it. Ramsey’s film deeps deep in his psyche, and we fill it. Joaquin Phoenix is Joe, danger doom and gloom personified here. It is a committed performance, and it is very disturbing to watch and process. This is certainly not a feel-good movie for me – I felt stressed and repulsed by all the goriness on display – this is totally not my genre of choice at all. And while I acknowledge the film’s brilliance, one sitting for this is more than enough for me, as I cannot fathom ever going through the experience again. I see a lot of people commending Phoenix’s performance as one to beat, and I agree – we not only see the physical character here, bu the was also able to convey what is inside the mind of Joe, and very few actors can pull that off. This film is not for me, but I am sure it will be a lot of people’s favorite.