You Were Never Really Here (Blu-ray) (2017)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 6-Dec-2018

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Crime Drama None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2017
Running Time 89:55
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Lynne Ramsey

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Joaquin Phoenix
Ekaterina Samsonov
Judith Roberts
Alex Manette
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Jonny Greenwood

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) is suicidal, brutal and out of control, scarred physically and mentally by visions / flashbacks of childhood abuse and his service in Afghanistan and the FBI. Perhaps in atonement he lives with and cares for his aged mother (Judith Roberts) and takes jobs rescuing, very brutally, young girls from people traffickers. He accepts the job of rescuing the thirteen year old daughter of Senator Votto (Alex Manette), the blonde, waif like Nina (Ekaterina Samsonov), from an under-age brothel and is successful, leaving a trail of battered men behind him. Joe takes Nina to a hotel to await her father, but things are not as they seem and events, and Joe, rapidly spiral even further towards hell.

     You Were Never Really Here is directed and scripted by Lynne Ramsey based on a novella by Jonathan Ames that was published in 2013. It is a dark and unsettling film, propelled by an intense and mesmerising performance by Joaquin Phoenix for which he won best actor at Cannes in 2017 and a driving, often atonal, score by Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood. You Were Never Really Here, and Lynne Ramsey, have been criticised for being too arty, for being violent and for failing to explain why things are happening. One could say “guilty as charged” but then add “so what?” because You Were Never Really Here is a stunning piece of filmmaking.

     You Were Never Really Here does indeed fail to explain itself, giving only tiny flashbacks that may, or may not, serve to explain Joe’s state of mind and why his preferred weapon of choice is a hammer. The film also relies on lingering scenes with minimal camera movements, vignettes of street life, minimal dialogue; we don’t find out what Joe does until after more than 20 minutes into the film while the ending is open, which I am sure would annoy those people who like films to close the loop. Nevertheless, at Cannes Lynne Ramsey won an award for best script (an award shared with Yorgos Lanthimos for his script for The Killing of A Sacred Deer) so her unusual work here certainly has supporters. And while You Were Never Really Here can be bloody and brutal, it is the result of the brutality we see on screen, the violence itself occurs out of sight.

     At Cannes 2017 Lynne Ramsey was nominated for the Palme d’Or for You Were Never Really Here. She didn’t win but if this nomination suggests that the film is an arty film, it also suggests that it is a very worthy one.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


     You Were Never Really Here is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     This is a dark film with many sequences at night, in thunder and rain, in cars or in dark rooms which the print handles very well. Blacks and shadow detail are excellent, with some beautiful night cityscapes, colours are natural, brightness and contrast consistent. Some interiors with the light source behind the actor fare less well with evident glare, but otherwise detail is spot on and artefacts absent.

     The film starts when the Blu-ray loads but English subtitles are available via the remote.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     The film audio is English DTS-HD MA 5.1.

     Right from the start, with voices and sighs in the rears, the film has an aggressive and enveloping sound design. There can be ambient sounds, such as rain and the wind, and then abrupt sound level changes pitching us into the streets of the city with the din of engines, voices, sirens; elsewhere a train roars through the screen. Gunshots and the impact of blows are resonate, but silences also occur. The driving score by Jonny Greenwood, part electric, part philharmonic, propelled the film along; other times songs on the soundtrack such as Angel Baby by Rosalie Hamlin underscored the visuals. Dialogue, however, is sometimes mumbled or otherwise unclear, when the subtitles helped. The sub-woofer added rumble, sometimes atonal hum, to the city noises, the train, engines and the music.

     There are no lip synchronisation issues.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     Nothing. The programme commences when the Blu-ray loads.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The US Region A version of You Were Never Really Here has no extras except a few trailers for other films. The only extra on the UK Region B release lasts all of 62 seconds, although that release does have an audio descriptive track so is a benefit for the visually impaired. Otherwise call it a draw.


     I was blown away by You Were Never Really Here. With its intense, mesmerising performance by Joaquin Phoenix, the film is not for all tastes but it is a stunning piece of filmmaking, a compelling and powerful film that that deserves to be seen.

     The video is very good, the audio aggressive and enveloping. There are no extras, but there is nothing of value in other regions either.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE