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Joe 2013 ***

Nicolas Cage has made so many bad films that when he suddenly and inexplicably makes a good one, it’s something of a shock. For every Bangkok Dangerous or Knowing, there’s a Bad Lieutenant: Port of New Orleans or 2014’s Joe, a backwoods drama from David Gordon Green that showcases the actor’s abilities to great effect. Cage plays Joe, a womanising, hard-living foreman of a group of men destroying unwanted trees. Joe has previous with the law, and with old grievances springing into violent reprisals, Joe reluctantly accepts a parental role for a teenage boy who looks up to him. Much like 2012’s Mud, Joe is a simple story, artfully told by Green and not holding back from the less than fragrant details of working life. For Cage, it’s a welcome reminder of the talent seen intermittently since Leaving Las Vegas.


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