You Were Never Really Here reminds me of Good Time from last year: a little indie that, with the first scenes and through the intro title, I thought: YES! This is GOOD… often you know immediately when a movie is going to be good. But with one punch then another and another, a left hook and a right jab, you realize how bad it’s going to be.
Not showing every last detail and letting the imagination fill in the gaps can be a very effective means of storytelling. The best examples are Fargo and American Psycho. But when that’s the whole film — random dead people left and right, real and imagined, it just goes to show how little an idea the filmmaker has. Of how little a story there is. Of trying to substitute style for substance.
It all goes back to a theme I keep pounding away at: the power of linear storytelling. More often than not, when a filmmaker goes highly non-linear, they are compensating for the lack of a good story. Not that You Were… is all that nonlinear. It’s just bad. I blame it on Amazon. 3/10
Comparison Notes: The infinitely better Thelma comes to mind. When the movie resorts to bodies floating in water for no good reason whatsoever, you realize you’ve hit bottom.