Nicolas Cage’s career bears many similarities to a see-saw in that one minutes it’s up (The Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call – New Orleans) and the next it’s down (Trespass). Joe, his latest film that teams him up with director David Gordon Green, is definitely one of the former. Joe (Nicolas Cage), an ex-con whose determined to keep his violent past in the past, crosses paths with Gary (Tye Sheridan), a 15-year-old boy with problems of his own. Adapted from Larry Brown’s novel of the same name, Joe is a measured, captivating and savage character study. The many threads of the narrative, weaved together successfully screenwriter Gary Hawkins, are nasty, and the film gets darker as Joe’s old life and his bad habits catch up on him, and Gary attempts to defend and distance himself from his violent, alcoholic father. The acting, particularly by Cage, is superb, and Green does some sterling work behind the camera, adopting a tense, leisurely approach until brutality breaks the surface. It’s a little thin in terms of narrative, but Joe is a more of a showcase for terrific performances. And, for that, it’s well worth a watch.