Nicolas Cage has been garnering a lot of approving notices for his title performance in Joe, and it’s easy to see why. He’s backed away from some of the tics that dominate his wilder turns, and at age 50 he’s seasoned, with a face that looks lived-in.
But let’s not say he’s mellowed. Never that.
Still, Cage is not the best part of Joe. He’s solid, but the movie itself is strongest at creating a sense of place, a strange subculture found off the main road. Credit for that goes to director David Gordon Green, a native Arkansan who can work in near-plotless form (All the Real Girls) or in multiplex comedies (Pineapple Express). The place is rural Texas, which is depicted as just remote and insular enough for a guy like Joe to quietly disappear.