Harry Gay’s review published on Letterboxd:
The action was good. The story was good. The acting was good. The cinematography was good. And the soundtrack was good.
With that out of the way, while watching the film, I felt as though I was watching an extended act of self-flagellation. You Were Never Really Here felt like it was in love with itself, and that it was deeper, more nuanced and more emotional that it really was. Shots hold on for WAYYY too long without actually holding on to anything of note. Oooh dead mum feet, why are we looking at this again?
On top of this, I felt like the film was attempting to get into the psychology of the main character. Except it fails to do so, only providing morsels of flashbacks where it shows us what happened, but we never really feel it. Almost as if we were Never Really There ( pun fully intended).
Also, I didn’t like the mumbling dialogue of the film. If I had a dollar for every time I had to adjust my volume... one second their dialogue is inaudible, the next, the soundtrack is blaring a low tonal synth drone into my tympanums. When he lost the tooth and his speech became even more inarticulate I thought “great! Fantastic! Can’t wait to strain to hear what he’s saying even harder.” Cause that’s what you want from your films. I mean, personally, I prefer when information is delivered without dialogue. It’s why Drive is so good. But if you’re going to include some dialogue, then at least make it so we can understand what you’re saying.
Anyway, this film felt like it was trying to be a copy of Drive or Taxi Driver, while failing at achieving either standard. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good, but not as amazeballs as others are espousing it to be.
ADDITIONAL NOTES OF CONFUSION:
-why the fuck did he lay with that dude on the kitchen floor and sing songs with him?!
-also, I cringed every time we saw him with the mum cause it was so obvious what they were trying to pull. I didn’t fall for it and it was very emotionally manipulative. “Oh yeah, let’s include her in two scenes near the beginning and then kill her off later so we can feel bad for the main character. Don’t you like him audience? Look how nice he is to his mummy? Don’t you think it’s nice when they have banter together? What’s what?... what ‘woman in the refrigerator’ trope?”