Ex-con Joe runs a rough-neck crew thinning out forested land for dubious purposes. One day adolescent Gary (Sheriden, a revelation in MUD) turns up begging for work. Recognising Gary’s desperation, Joe becomes his mentor, and ultimately, his protector. As with Green’s previous films like GEORGE WASHINGTON, JOE is an atmospherically raw work about life at the moral and economic margins. Gary may become dependent on Joe to the point of infatuation, but he is not beyond standing up for his beliefs, and neither is an often emotionally inarticulate Joe, who Cage gives considerable depth.
Joe serves up a bloody cut of Southern Gothic and a bullish portrait of masculinity in crisis, perfectly embodied by Nicolas Cage.