You Were Never Really Here – Here isn’t Where You Want To Be

Rating (2.5 out of 5)

Choppy flashbacks and an awkward pace hamper You Were Never Really Here (YWNRH) from being a truly good film.    YWNRH is an Amazon movie and can be found on their Prime streaming service.

Plot:  Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) rescues young woman and girls.  He lives quietly with his mom until one of his jobs goes wrong.

What I Liked:  Joe intrigued me at the start of the movie.  He had a violent history; abuse at home, war experiences, FBI, etc.  However, since the flashbacks to these experiences were presented in brief flashes and out of order we never really understood what drove him.

At some point in the movie, you are going to think, “hey this professional killer like John Wick, now they are in for it”.  You are right, but as Scott said, it is more personal.  John executes his kill with a gun, as if they are cardboard figures on a gun range. Joe is more personal, typical using a ball-peen hammer to kill the bad guys.  When questioning a person he has shot he even gives his victim a pain pill.


What I Didn’t Like:  The general premise of the movies has merit, who doesn’t like the Equalizer, who is out to save the world.  When the bad guys are revealed and their scheme, the movie lost a semblance of realism.  When Joe walks silently through the apartments/houses during his kill sessions we again questioned the realism of the film.  The bad guys have camera’s and guards at all of these locations and he miraculously navigates through them relative ease.

We would have been cheering for Joe had we received a bit more detail about Joe and his mother.  I didn’t enjoy the hinting at what drove him, just tell me.  The drive of the character important because he did let some bad people live and he didn’t rescue one girl who needed help.  I didn’t understand his moral compass and therefore confused.   Explanations and elaborations on Joe’s character would have added only minutes to an already short film, coming in at only 1 hour and 29 minutes.


Conclusion:  You Were Never Here suffers from severe lack of realism and fails to explain the drivers of the main character Joe.  You left with a film with a couple of interesting scenes.