In her new feature film – a dark tale adapted from Jonathan Ames' eponymous novel, Lynne Ramsay returns to examine adult-child relations, a theme already addressed in We Need to Talk About Kevin, which painted a picture of the ambiguous relationship between a mother and her violent son. The film, which drew particular plaudits for the performance of Tilda Swinton, introduced the young actress Ezra Miller to the public.
This time, the tables are turned. You Were Never Really Here features war veteran Joe, who sets off in search of a senator's missing daughter. Faced with a onslaught of vengeance and corruption, he is drawn reluctantly into a spiral of violence. The brutal and tortured adult is played by Joaquin Phoenix. Opposite him, the young girl he tries to save is played by Ekaterina Samsonov, who also appears in Wonderstruck by Todd Haynes, in Competition.