After flirting with the mainstream in a number of stoner comedies, David Gordon Green returns here to the more personal feel of his earlier films (George Washington, All the Real Girls). Making a parallel return to form is Nicolas Cage as an ex-con who, although often good-spirited and kind-hearted, must also control a hair-trigger temper, his fear of which has caused him to keep a degree of detachment from others. He employs Gary (Tye Sheridan, Mud), a 15-year-old trying to look after his mother and sister financially while protecting them from his shiftless, violent, alcoholic father (the outstanding Gary Poulter, a local homeless man who had never acted before).
While events subsequent to the bond that forms between the two may seem familiar, Green and his leads handle the material in a deft and sensitive way that keeps the viewer invested and fully engaged. (Notes by Kevin Coyne.)
Don’t forget we now schedule weekly.
★★★★ The Irish Times