CAMFF 2018: Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot (2018)

Directed by: Gus Van Sant
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Jack Black, Rooney Mara
UK Release Date: 26th October 2018 (Amazon Prime & select cinemas)

Written by Elena Morgan

After a car accident that leaves him paralysed, John Callahan (Joaquin Phoenix) tries to become sober and finds he has a talent for drawing funny yet often controversial cartoons.

The title, Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, comes from one of Callahan’s cartoons showing some cowboys looking at an abandoned wheelchair and saying they’ll soon catch the guy. This sort of wry, and sometimes near the knuckle, sense of humour is prevalent throughout Callahan’s cartoons, many of which are animated and featured in the film. It’s also very much the sense of humour that’s running through the film, dark and sometimes weird and self-deprecating.

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot is a biopic that’s told in a non-linear way. It’s a bit jarring really, especially at the beginning as scenes are intertwined with one another with no real reference point or understanding of who any of these characters are. The pacing continues to be uneven with the last thirty minutes or so being a drag.

Joaquin Phoenix is naturally great (even when wearing a horrendous range wig), managing to make Callahan irritating and charming in equal measure. Even before the accident and he becomes a little bitter, Callahan is a rude alcoholic that barely functions. After his accident, he’s not much better until he finally takes steps to become sober. Reading up on the real John Callahan after seeing the film, I did find it is a bit weird that 43-year-old Joaquin Phoenix was cast when Callahan had his accident when he was 21. This age discrepancy also makes his relationship with his nurse turned girlfriend Annu (Rooney Mara) seem out of place. She, like many of the characters surrounding Callahan, are never fleshed out more than the archetypes of their character.

The exception to that is Donnie (Jonah Hill), a recovering alcoholic and AA meeting leader. Hill is brilliant, and at times he even manages to outshine Phoenix, as he plays a wealthy gay hippie who is both hilarious and astute.

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot is more of a character study than a film with a cohesive and compelling plot, but it manages to be a perfectly serviceable biopic. Phoenix and Hill are great but they’re not enough to make this a memorable film.

 

Elena’s Verdict

3

 

First Trailer For Western-Comedy ‘The Sisters Brothers’ Hits The Mark

“In 1850s Oregon, a gold prospector is chased by the infamous duo of assassins, the Sisters brothers.”

Directed by:  Jacques Audiard

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Joaquin Phoenix, John C. Reilly, Riz Ahmed

Release Date: TBA

Brand New UK Trailer for ‘You Were Never Really Here’ Released

“A traumatized veteran, unafraid of violence, tracks down missing girls for a living. When a job spins out of control, Joe’s nightmares overtake him as a conspiracy is uncovered leading to what may be his death trip or his awakening”

You can read our full review of the film HERE

Directed By: Lynne Ramsay

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Ekaterina Samsonov, Alessandro Nivola, Alex Manette

Release Date: March 9th, 2018

First Trailer For Garth Davis’ ‘Mary Magdalene’ Arrives

“‘Mary Magdalene’ is an authentic and humanistic portrait of one of the most enigmatic and misunderstood spiritual figures in history. The biblical biopic tells the story of Mary (Rooney Mara), a young woman in search of a new way of living. Constricted by the hierarchies of the day, Mary defies her traditional family to join a new social movement led by the charismatic Jesus of Nazareth (Joaquin Phoenix). She soon finds a place for herself within the movement and at the heart of a journey that will lead to Jerusalem.”

Directed By: Garth Davis

Cast: Rooney Mara, Joaquin Phoenix, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ariane Labed, 

Release Date: 16th March 2018

You Were Never Really Here

Year: TBC, but likely 2018
Director: Lynne Ramsay
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Ekaterina Samsonov, Alessandro Nivola, Alex Manette

Written by Sarah Buddery

After a Best Actor nomination for ‘Walk the Line’ (2005), followed by being shamefully overlooked for his gorgeously tender performance in 2013’s ‘Her’, Joaquin Phoenix couldn’t exactly be put into the category of ‘underrated’, however nor is he considered as a bankable box office draw; which is a real shame. One of the most consistently watchable actors, Phoenix has a history for playing dark and troubled characters – his one in ‘You Were Never Really Here’ being no different – so some may consider him to be “one note”. However when he plays them this well, it isn’t exactly a bad thing!

The story is as vague in its actualisation as it is in the IMDb description, but essentially it follows ‘Joe’ played by Phoenix, an enforcer of undisclosed authority, who is sent to rescue an underage girl who has been kidnapped and used in the sex trade. Haunted by the visions of his childhood abuse, Joe is deeply troubled, teetering constantly on the brink of psychosis. Essentially a hitman thriller, ‘You Were Never Really Here’ manages to pack an awful lot of hits into its short runtime, as well as an uncomfortably in-depth exploration of the man perpetrating them.   

Owing a great deal to the 1976 masterpiece ‘Taxi Driver’, Joaquin Phoenix manages to channel the ghost of Travis Bickle, and to electrifying effect. Near enough the entire runtime is spent with his character, and whilst at times the story feels cold and distant, there is a great deal of pity for this character, despite his brutal nature. Similarly in the aforementioned ‘Taxi Driver’, we spent so much time with DeNiro’s iconic character, and that idea of being so closely aligned with a psychopath, makes for a totally thrilling experience. Whereas ‘Taxi Driver’ had the perfect amount of slow-burning tension, ‘You Were Never Really Here’ doesn’t wait long for the bursts of violence, and the brutality is orchestrated to perfection.

Early on there is a scene which is near silent and switches to the perspective of CCTV cameras within a house. We see Joe moving from room to room, dispatching various heavies, and for all its brutality, it is equally mesmerising to watch. The sound design of this film is absolutely stunning, perfectly utilising silence when needed and punctuating this with sudden and deafening bursts of noise and chaos. The music, from Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood is jarring, jangling, eerie, utterly nerve-shredding and completely amazing, suiting the tone of the film perfectly, and contributing to that constant sense of unease.

Whilst it is easy to connect, although not empathise, with the central character, the story does feel somewhat distant at times. Perhaps this is intentional and somehow represents that emotional disconnect the character feels from the atrocities he is committing, but it does make it a difficult watch in places.

That being said, ‘You Were Never Really Here’ is truly “edge of your seat” stuff, and whilst the comparisons with ‘Taxi Driver’ kind of write themselves, it is still amazing on its own merit. Joaquin Phoenix gives an electric, and possibly career-best performance as the troubled hitman, and only time will tell if this will be the year he receives a much-deserved nomination, or the year he is once again shamefully overlooked. Awards aside however, this is one of the most genuinely thrilling films in a long time, and one which packs a mean punch into a relatively short space. An explosive, and unmissable film.

Sarah’s Rating: 8.8 out of 10

Watch This Space: September 7 – 13

Welcome to your weekly go-to film guide – WatchThisSpace – where we recommend what to watch in the cinema and on the television, and remind you of those brilliant films hiding in your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

Following the success of ‘Maze Runner’ last year, this week sees the release of its sequel, ‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’. The plot continues with Dylan O’Brian returning as Thomas, the reluctant leader of his band of grizzled Teens. Set in a dystopian future, our protagonists face the new horror of navigating the Scorch, a vast, desolate landscape filled with perils. Directed by Wes Ball and featuring Kaya Scodelario and Aiden Gillen, this movie should see a good return after the surprising success of its predecessor.

Also released this week is ‘Legend’, the story of the infamous Kray twins and their fractious relationship as they terrorise London and rule the criminal underworld of the 1950’s and 1960’s, until their incarceration in 1969. Both brothers are portrayed by the ever malleable Tom Hardy in what promises to be an award-nominated double performance. Check out our review for more.

The new Movie carrying the “written and directed by Woody Allen” tagline is ‘Irrational Man’, starring Joaquin Phoenix as a Philosophy professor encountering an existential crisis which may lead to murder. With Emma Stone also featuring in a supporting role, the talent involved here looks set to throw another film full of deep character study and dark humour our way.

ON TELEVISION

Monday 23:00 GMT: Danny Boyle has brought us so many great films over the years, but arguably, none compare to his 1996 classic ‘Trainspotting’. At almost 20 years old, this iconic Brit flick is such a part of cinema history that we absolutely insist you stay up and catch it on Film4.

Wednesday 21:00 GMT: If you couldn’t stomach Monday night’s hard-hitting option, this may be more up your street. Starring Will Ferrel and John C. Reilly, ‘Step Brothers’ is one of our favourite comedies here at JumpCut UK. Watch middle-aged men act like children on Comedy Central, and try not to laugh so hard that you fall off your dinosaur (if you get it, you get it).

Thursday 22:50 GMT: Whilst the world is absorbed with the Marvel Cinematic Universe and who would win in a fight between Batman and Superman, you could escape all that and watch erm…enjoy ‘Watchmen’ on Film4. They aren’t the most popular heroes, but this dark, violent comic-book adaptation is a severely underrated addition to the superhero genre.

Saturday 16:45 GMT: Travel back in time this weekend – in more ways than one – and join Marty McFly for the 1985 classic ‘Back To The Future’ on ITV. Gather the whole family and enjoy a fun, fantastical ride in the DeLorean. 

Saturday 21:00 GMT: If, like us, you love a good Brit flick, we have two for you this week. Alongside Danny Boyle, Shane Meadows is another master of the gritty, realist trade and Film4 is showing his most famous work, ‘This Is England’ this Saturday night. Alternatively, head to BBC3 15 minutes later for the uber-intense ‘Jarhead’ starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jamie Foxx.

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984): After the very sad news last week that my favourite horror director, Wes Craven, had passed away, I wanted to celebrate his iconic career by watching my most cherished horror movie of all time. Set in suburbian America, this superbly crafted twist on the unstoppable, stalker format saw the killer (a burned faced and perfectly cast Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger) terrorise and murder a group of frightened teens from within their nightmares. Starring Heather Lagenkamp and a very young Johnny Depp in his first ever acting role, this movie raised the bar for the horror genre, and many films that followed owe an awful lot to the work of Wes Craven. With a cruel sense of humour, genuinely frightening set pieces and perfectly haunting soundtrack, 31 years have done nothing to quash the fear this movie will instill in you. Just try not to fall asleep straight after!

R.I.P Wes Craven 1939-2015

La Haine: Casting a great villain is often imperative to a movie’s success. Luckily, the latest installment in the ‘Bourne’ franchise has found theirs, in the form of French actor Vincent Cassel. The very talented Monsieur Cassel, who you will recognise as the repugnant dance choreographer in ‘Black Swan’, first broke onto the scene back in 1995 with his role in the critically-acclaimed, intensely violent French flick ‘La Haine’. Follow Vinz (Cassel) and his two young comrades as they navigate their way through the French suburbs after a heated riot, and get a taste of what we can expect with the untitled ‘Bourne 5’ next year.

Zombieland: ‘Fear The Walking Dead’ has just hit the small screen and how better to celebrate than by watching this sleeper hit of 2009. Starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone, the story sees a zombie-ravaged, post-apocalyptic world and the relationships between a small group of survivors. Beautifully written and genuinely funny, we see our heroes desperately trying not to become food for the undead, whilst seeking the sanctuary of a theme park. Featuring a hilarious and self-aware performance by Harrelson, as well as the perfectly neurotic Eisenberg, the movie also has one of the best cameos ever and possibly THE greatest opening credits scene.

Kick-Ass: So, all the kids are back at school. Some of you might have, what, a couple of weeks until you return to university? Or…you could scrap all that, quit education and just become a superhero? From the fantastic Matthew Vaugn (director of ‘Kingsman’ and ‘Layer Cake’) comes this epic, alternative hero who will inspire you to drop it all, throw on the first piece of spandex you can find and take to the streets. The titular hero doesn’t quite have the muscle and skills of your everyday comic-book hero, but he more than makes up for that in courage. ‘Kick-Ass’ is entertaining and funny, whilst delivering a healthy portion of violence and action – if you haven’t seen this before, get ready to be very pleasantly surprised.

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Jakob Lewis Barnes and special guest Chris Murphy. Get more from Chris by checking out his Twitter activity here.