David Gordon Green is one of those writers/director/producers who are just all over the place thematically, and not in a bad way. He’s gone from dramas like 2003′s All the Real Girls and 2000′s George Washington, last year’s indie comedy Prince Avalanche, to straight up silliness like Pineapple Express and Your Highness. It takes a unique mind to work between Emile Hirsch and Paul Rudd learning life lessons on the side of rural highways to Danny McBride wearing a Minotaur dick around his neck.
Green is returning to darker stomping grounds with his latest project however, with Joe, a Toronto International Film Festival standout from last year that was snatched up by Roadside Attractions. Based on the novel by Larry Brown, Joe tells the story of ex-con Joe Ransom (Nicolas Cage), and his unlikely mentorship of an abused and abandoned fifteen year-old named Gary (Tye Sheridan) in rural Mississippi.
You can check out the international trailer below.
In addition to David Gordon Green’s return to indie fare, many are calling this a return to form for Nicolas Cage, whose body of work over the last decade has been rather schizophrenic. I need not speak terribly much of bees, weird pre-take rituals on Ghostrider, or odd Bruckheimer collaborations. While I’ve personally seen much of his work in films like Lord of War, The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, and The Weather Man as signs he never really went away, his portrayal as a rage-suppressing Joe has many folks calling this a special performance.
Our own Kate Erbland had the opportunity to review the film last year, and her opinion mirrors this sentiment. This doesn’t mean Green intends to stick with what has brought him the most acclaim from here on out, however. His remake of Dario Argento‘s horror classic Suspiria is in a holding pattern, and while Al Pacino led Manglehorn, starring Pacino as an aging eccentric with a criminal history, seems to fit the bill, Green is moving onto thriller territory with Chris Pine this year in The Line. If anything remains standard between his indie roots, a desire to do horror, and a border town crime drama, it’s that gritty seems to be a pretty standard tool in his creative kit.
Joe is set to arrive in theaters April 11th.