The Movie Waffler New Release Review (DVD/VOD) - JOSIE | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review (DVD/VOD) - JOSIE

josie movie review
A troubled man becomes infatuated with the mysterious teenage girl who moves into his motel complex.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Eric England

Starring: Sophie Turner, Dylan McDermott, Daeg Faerch, Kurt Fuller, Jack Kilmer

josie movie dvd

Some people live for plot twists but they're way down on the list of what I want from a narrative. If a movie is built around a plot twist it can often have an adverse effect on the rewatchability of said film. The most annoying type of plot twist is one that cruelly changes how you view a character whom you've grown affectionate for. Without giving anything away, that's the type of twist director Eric England and screenwriter Anthony Ragnone II pull late on in their gritty drama Josie, pulling the rug out from under a pair of characters we've become fully invested in by that point, turning a gripping character study into a silly grindhouse thriller with arguably the most misjudged plot twist of the decade.

josie movie review

The titular Josie (Sophie Turner) is a mysterious, hot-pants clad young woman who rocks up at the sort of motel complex where residents move in for a few days to get themselves sorted and find themselves still calling it home five years later. One such resident is Hank (Dylan McDermott), a shy Texan who keeps to himself, raising a pair of turtles in a self constructed habitat at the back of his cabin.

Haunted by visions of a man in an orange prison jumpsuit, Hank works a soul-destroying job, sitting in his pick-up truck in the car park of the local high school, making sure none of the kids skip class early. A pair of heavy metal loving students (the movie's view of teens seems to be stuck in 1987), Marcus (Jack Kilmer, son of Val and Joanne Whalley) and Gator (Daeg Faerch, whom you might remember as the young Michael Myers in Rob Zombie's divisive Halloween reboot), delight in making Hank's life a daily hell, smearing human excrement on his seat and graffitiing his truck and the small boat he uses to go fishing for his supper early each morning.

josie movie review

Hank is wary of the friendly Josie at first, but he soon succumbs to her white trash Lolita charms, thanks to the level of affection she shows him (she makes a turtle racing stadium out of cardboard, which really wins the big lug's heart). When Josie begins seeing Marcus, Hank is consumed with jealousy, and the pair seem set on a collision course with Josie in the middle.

Were it not common for twentysomething actors to portray teenagers in American cinema, the casting of Turner might raise suspicions earlier, but it won't take you long to surmise that this young woman hasn't arrived in Hank's world by accident. Knowing this doesn't make the dynamic between the two any less interesting, rather it makes it all the more intriguing. Not quite so believable however is the idea that a heavily tattooed, scantily clad siren who looks five years older than her classmates and lives alone without any parents would be welcomed into a high school so readily by an unquestioning faculty.

josie movie review

McDermott, an actor rarely seen in a role this meaty, proves ideally cast. He's handsome enough to make you believe his infatuation with Josie just might be reciprocated, and he treads the line between broken vulnerability and powder-keg aggression with convincing aplomb. Cast in a role that's little more than a seductress stereotype, Turner nevertheless gives coats Josie in a human fabric. Despite the questionable nature of both characters and their possible relationship, we grow sympathetic towards two people who seem to have been cast aside by an uncaring society. For at least 75 of its 87 minutes, Josie draws us in, but its ludicrous climax has the effect of a turning a few mellow beers on a balmy porch into an overbearing keg party attended by uninvited frat boys.

Josie is on DVD/VOD January 14th.

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