You Were Never Really Here

How to say masterpiece in ten different languages.

What I should have said to the French guy: you may hate it, but you'll still think it's a masterpiece.
Reported on 8th of November, 2017

Because it’s France, whilst walking out of You Were Never Really Here a very elegant retired gentleman buttonholed me and asked if I had seen A Perfect Day (how it’s re-titled in France). I told him it it was the best film of the year. In my opinion. He seemed dubious. You shouldn’t have asked!

Well. You shouldn’t have asked me.


I realized I added that last part because I didn’t explain myself well in my shitty French; what I wanted to say was that You Were Never Really There is actually un chef d’œuvre, a masterpiece. There’s a part of this film that’s very much me – an extremely damaged man saving kids from being abused. It connects to me on a primal level, hence saying in my opinion.

But my pleasures to the side, You Were Never Really Here is an objective chef d’œuvre, each shot a painting, every sound a feeling, even if you don’t actually love it like I did. It’s this year’s Spring Breakers, a film that can be seen with the sound off, and a soundtrack that doesn’t need visuals. It cements Ms. Lynne Ramsey as the greatest living filmmaker; I honestly can’t think of anyone who’s working at this level right now. As I humbly predicted.

It is also – as all films should be – ninety minutes long. This rule matters. As I humbly opined.

Having just seen the execrable The Killing of a Sacred Deer and then the not as bad I thought it would be Kingsman: Golden Circle, it reminded me of what happens when you take the time. Brimming with gratitude that Ms. Ramsey walked off the unforgivably bland Jane Got a Gun, and doubly overflowing that this didn’t kill her career, the film underlines how taking your time matters. Fill it up.

I missed the first minute because of the different trailer times for art movies, so maybe it’s actually terrible. Nevertheless, it’s so good in the first two minutes (after the actual first two minutes of course), I knew I was going to see it again.

As I said before, I can’t love a movie unless I hate another one. I was utterly floored to discover that Mr. Jonny Greenwood, late of the execrable Paul Thomas Anderson œuvre, was responsible for the music here. This is the movie that Inherent Vice so much wanted to be: capturing a kind of Nicolas Roeg-ish feel for a noir, not much said, but lots going on. It simply is a seventies’ character film, instead of thinking setting it in a period is interesting on its own.

Because I want you to see it, I’m not giving much away. But here’s two amazing moments in You Were Never Really Here that might not seem so, two characters that seem about to be introduced. One sleeping on a bench as Mr. Phoenix finishes a sip at an airport, another with a black eye hiding behind an elevated platform girder.

The images are so striking that in any other movie, these are characters you would introducing into the story; here, they’re throwaways. I wrote, If she doesn’t show up again, this is a great film. She didn’t and it is. This is kind of giving away something, but I hope you see it and enjoy the spoiler. You’ll have a lot to else to wait for.

The Take

To have an actor so good that he can you can read him under a towel.
I would kill to see her work with Mr. Roger Deakins. And then the resultant film would kill me.
The girl counting down from fifty. Would would count as a spoiler if the film wasn’t so confident that it never explains what this is for.
The other things the film knows not to explain.
You’re not going to see it, fine, but if you did, a warning: it feels very violent, even though very little happens on screen. To me this is a credit, the impression Ms. Ramsey gives by holding back.
Total Profits
The film has zero flab.
Total Losses


Thoughts on You Were Never Really Here

  1. Me says:

    Not out in States until February, (you lucky) Dog.

  2. Scott Scott says:

    Your country has gone mad! Mad, I tell you! We also got Thor: Ragnarok before you, so that’s two out of two. Also there are other things happening the US about which I know nothing.

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