We've come to assume a certain something from Nicolas Cage films of late, but what we haven't seen from him for a while is a serious role in a gritty drama. Similarly, we wouldn't necessarily expect a slice of southern gothic from David Gordon Green, director of Your Highness, The Pineapple Express and The Sitter (although there are quieter indie dramas in his past). And yet here's the first trailer for Joe to confound all our expectations.
Adapted from Larry Brown’s novel by screenwriter Gary Hawkins, the story is that of ex-con Joe (Cage) who becomes something of a role model to teenager Gary Jones (Tye Sheridan from last year's excellent Mud). Gary is trying to escape his drunken, dangerous father and homeless family, and Joe, despite his own history of violence, just might be his path to a better life in one of the darker corners of Mississippi.
Green calls Joe "an absolute and unexpected performance piece woven from the darkness, beauty, humour and environment of Larry Brown's material". It's already had a satisfying life on the festival circuit: our own Damon Wise caught it in Venice last year, calling it a "crisp, clean arthouse thriller" and "a curiously wayward, romantic Southern fable". The Playlist, meanwhile, point out that, genre-wise, it shares much with the western.
The trailer, you'll notice, is a French one, heralding Joe's release there in April. It arrives in the UK a bit later on July 25. As discussed elsewhere this morning, Green's next film will be Chris Pine action drama The Line.