Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Brief Thoughts on Joe vs. the Volcano

Audiences are used to seeing character arcs, and we get a lovely one in Joe versus the Volcano (John Patrick Shanley, 1990). But the writer/director also treats us to a fascinating arc in tone, as Joe's story begins in an absurdist dystopian factory with the worst working conditions since Fritz Lang's Metropolis, eases into a more mundane middle-class idyll, then glides to a paradisiacal tropical finish. It's the journey Joe needs to take in order to recapture his love of life, a journey made possible by a gift from on high, a not-quite-random act of kindness rewarding Joe's courage and perseverance.

What a strange, beautiful film.

3 comments:

Stephen Fitzpatrick said...

Was this your first time seeing it? Wow, I’m sorry! Had I known, I would have made screening it for you a priority. I’m glad you appreciated it!

I love this brilliant fable of a movie, and if it isn’t your cup of tea, that is fine.

But if you dismiss it or think it is ‘stoopid’ we probably won’t be friends.

Earl J. Woods said...

First time, yes. Lovely little movie.

Jeff Shyluk said...

I saw it in the theatre. It didn't stick in my memory much, I recall it as being a shaggy dog tale more than anything, far-fetched even for an urban fantasy. I don't remember a whole lot in the way of morality or fable. Mostly the first part added to my dread of cubicle life, that's the part that stuck.

I'll add it to my list of movies to re-evaluate.