Joe – film review

Nicolas Cage poisons trees for a living in this issue-heavy drama

Joe, based on a novel by Larry Brown, is corn-fried Southern shtick. Director David Gordon Green has done good work in the past. Most of it came, sadly, at his career’s start (George Washington, All the Real Girls). Since then we have had Pineapple Express, Your Highness, Prince Avalanche . . . 

Nicolas Cage is a tree poisoner for a forest-clearing lumber company. He has a short temper, a beard and a turn-me-over-I’m-smoking look as the plot griddles its right-on themes. Deforestation; social deprivation; child abuse; alcohol abuse . . . It’s a long menu and the food isn’t any good. Best scene: the one where Cage picks up a moccasin snake with his bare hands. (One creature you wouldn’t wish on another, and I’m not saying which.) Worst scene: each one in which the central kid appears, played by Tye Sheridan (so good in Mud) with a mission to represent shining youth in a tarnished world.

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