Next week will see the release of new Nicolas Cage movie Joe in the USA, whilst the UK will have to wait a little bit longer. Before you greet that news with a groan and flashbacks to 2009's Knowing, hear this: with the Christopher D. Smithers Foundation Special Award and the Marcello Mastroianni Award from the 2013 Venice Film Festival under its belt, this gritty, David Gordon Green-directed drama is currently sitting at a delectable 84% on reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

Nicolas Cage
Nicolas Cage Makes A Critically-Lauded Return To Form In The Dark & Doomy 'Joe.'

Cage takes centre-stage as the titular ex-convict who makes his living in a backwater town poisoning trees to make way for illegal logging companies. This is just a small part of the film however, as Joe's relationship with the 15 year-old Gary (Tye Sheridan) and his wranglings with Gary's abusive father (Gary Poulter) takes precedence in this dark and doomy tale.

By all accounts, Joe represents a return to form for the Oscar-winning Cage, and the 50 year-old actor isn't naïve enough to let this pass him by. "I had been waiting for the better part of a year to find a script where I could be as emotionally naked as possible. [...] So when I read Joe, right away there was an implicit connection with the dialogue where I thought, "Wow, I understand this man and I think I can play this part in a way where I wouldn't have to act," he told NPR.

Luckily, this proved to be a shrewd career move for the Kickass star. "Joe is Cage's periodic reminder that he's one of his generation's great talents. Perhaps he's reminding himself," praises L.A. Weekly. TIME's review is similarly emphatic: "the movie belongs to Cage, in a performance that recalls why he is fitfully acknowledged as one of cinema's most powerful and subtle actors. [...] Like Green, Cage has gone outside the box and back to basics, for a well-drawn character study that, like Joe's bad dreams, is memorable and haunting."

Watch The 'Joe' Trailer:

"It's a case of unlikely casting, and yet he couldn't be better in it," remarks SF Gate, praising the late Gary Poulter's turn as an abusive drunk father: "He'd never acted before, and yet he's remarkable in this, expertly playing a monstrous addict's selfish reasoning, while suggesting a glimmer of submerged humanity in his eyes."

The NY Daily Times is less overtly impressed but still gives the adaptation of the 1991 novel a thumbs up, saying This kind of character could be deeply unappealing, but Cage appreciates the soulfulness of the story, as well as the swamp of backwoods Americana from which it springs," and adding "'Joe' and director David Gordon Green find a middle ground between the old, vulnerable Cage and the one that seemed to eat that other guy. Good to have him back."

Joe will be released on the 11th April in the USA and the 25th July in the UK.

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