Joaquin Phoenix Goes Punisher in You Were Never Really Here Trailer

Joaquin Phoenix has a hammer and knows how to use it in a new trailer for the brutal drama You Were Never Really Here. Phoenix won Best Actor at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival for his role in the film, while writer-director Lynne Ramsay won Best Screenplay.

Based on a novel by Jonathan Ames, the movie tells the story of Joe, a war veteran with PTSD who makes a living as a lone-wolf hitman who takes down his targets armed only with a ball peen hammer. Joe may have bitten off more than he can chew when he takes a job saving the daughter of a state senator from an upscale brothel and exacting ruthless revenge on her abductors. Joe's own demons close in on him as he uncovers a conspiracy and finds himself the target of corrupt and powerful forces.

Amazon Studios has debuted a new trailer for You Were Never Really Here, highlighting Joaquin Phoenix as a scruffy, hammer-wielding version of The Punisher (his character has more than a few things in common with the Marvel vigilante played on TV by Jon Bernthal, including the fact that both are veterans). See the clip above.

The tense trailer begins with a brief set-up of Phoenix's character Joe, a shaggy guy in a hoodie who despite his unimpressive appearance is actually a cold-blooded professional killer with a particular reputation for brutality. Because Joe is played by Joaquin Phoenix, an actor with a reputation for playing off-kilter characters, we don't need to be told that all is probably not right in Joe's head. Lynne Ramsay focuses on Joe squeezing a jellybean, and that one detail is enough to suggest the turmoil at work inside the character.

The trailer mostly shies away from showing violence, instead implying the horrific things Joe visits on his victims. In a non-surprising twist to anyone who's seen a lot of thrillers about sad, lonely hit-men, Joe finds himself becoming the target after his job to rescue the daughter of a state senator causes him to run afoul of corrupt forces powerful enough to have the police at their disposal. The unnerving score by Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood gives the trailer a slowly-rising sense of brutality that parallels Joe's own steady unraveling.

Hailed by critics as "a 21st Century Taxi Driver" and "the perfect cinematic experience," You Were Never Really Here earned a seven-minute standing ovation when it played at last year's Cannes Film Festival. Ekaterina Samsonov, Alessandro Nivola, Alex Manette, John Doman and Judith Roberts also star.

Source: Amazon Studios

Key Release Dates
  • You Were Never Really Here (2017) release date: Apr 06, 2018
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