You Were Never Really Here Movie Review

Raven Ryan

This movie has mature content such as mentions of trafficking, violence, and swearing. Viewer discretion is advised.

Trafficking has always been a fear of people who roam the streets at night, especially women who are walking alone. While movies sometimes follow a woman’s experience through abduction and trauma, this movie flips the table to the perspective of a man named Joe, an ex-soldier with PTSD and an indifference to violence. With this ability to do violent acts without regret or remorse, is the perfect man to call for people desperate to get their daughters back, therefore making it his job to rescue girls that fall victim to child prostitution. 

With over 5 awards, the unique part of this film is the utilization of the realistic approach to how trauma is dealt with in real life: pushed away and ignored, because people are bad at communicating. It would be easiest to outright tell the audience how and why Joe is traumatized, but instead, the director (Lynne Ramsay) makes it difficult for the audience to form a relationship with Joe or pretty much any of the characters within the film. You get the bare necessities of what you need to know about the character, making you feel less like you are part of the action, and more like you are on the sidelines.

This movie is not for when you are half-listening or doing something on the side. It demands your full attention to detail and asks you to piece different parts of the puzzle together to get a sense of why Joe is the way he is. Ramsay throws in flashbacks to look into Joe’s past like his child abuse and days as a soldier, as well as his attempt at suicide as a child. You realize he never had the best life in the first place, which alters his view of how he sees the world and people themselves. This translates into a type of symbolism within the film as the cameras never show the violence Joe carries out until after it is done. They only show the aftermath, just like Joe is the aftermath: the aftermath of abuse, violence, and PTSD. 

This movie is, without a doubt, a very action-packed stressful, and emotionally heavy film. I highly suggest giving this movie a try, and it can be found on Youtube for $3.99 or watched on Amazon Prime Video with a subscription. I give this movie a solid 9/10, only because the end of the film was very unsatisfying and felt incomplete. Other than that, this film is very much worth your time.