- 1 hr 42 min
Joe is a gripping drama film from 1970 that delves into the social and political tensions of America during the Vietnam War Era. Directed by John G. Avildsen, the movie stars Peter Boyle as the titular character, a racist and bigoted working-class man living in New York City, whose life takes a dramatic turn when he crosses paths with Bill Compton (Dennis Patrick), a wealthy businessman facing a crisis.
The story follows Joe, a hard-drinking, chain-smoking man who spends his days hanging out with his friends in bars and expressing his anger and disgust towards people of color, hippies, and anyone who opposes the American values that he believes in. He finds a kindred spirit in Compton, who shares his conservative views and frustration with the runaway youth culture that is corrupting the nation.
When Compton's daughter, Melissa (Susan Sarandon), becomes involved with a group of anti-war activists, he hires Joe to find her and bring her home. Joe accepts the job and sets out to locate Melissa, but his quest puts him in the middle of a clash between the young protestors and the police, and he is forced to confront his own prejudices and beliefs.
As the story unfolds, Joe begins to question the morality of his actions and the values that he has been defending all his life. He meets a young woman named Melissa who challenges his worldview and forces him to confront the contradictions and hypocrisies of his own beliefs.
One of the strengths of Joe is the way it presents complex social issues through the eyes of a flawed protagonist. Despite Joe's despicable behavior and appalling prejudices, the film never reduces him to a simplistic caricature. Instead, it explores the root causes of his anger and fears, highlighting the ways in which economic and social factors have shaped his worldview.
Similarly, the portrayal of the anti-war protestors is nuanced and thought-provoking. While the film doesn't shy away from depicting their excesses and excesses, it also shows their idealism and commitment to social justice, highlighting the potential for reconciliation and understanding between two groups that may seem irreconcilable.
The film also benefits from strong performances from its cast, particularly from Peter Boyle, whose portrayal of Joe is layered and nuanced. He manages to convey the character's anger and bitterness without making him a caricature, and his transformation from a hard-eyed bigot to a man who is grappling with his own demons is compelling to watch.
Susan Sarandon also gives a standout performance as Melissa, the young woman who challenges Joe's worldview. Despite having a relatively small role, she manages to convey both Melissa's idealism and her vulnerability, making her a memorable and sympathetic character.
The film's gritty, naturalistic style and use of on-location shooting add to its realism and immediacy, and the soundtrack, which features songs by Bob Dylan, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones, helps to evoke the turbulent times in which the story is set.
Overall, Joe is a powerful and thought-provoking drama that explores the social and political tensions of its times in a way that remains relevant today. With strong performances, nuanced characters, and a gripping story, it is a film that will stay with viewers long after the final credits roll.
Joe is a 1970 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 42 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8.