Update: A24 has picked the film up ahead of a shoot this summer, Variety reports.

It’s hard to believe it’s been half-a-decade since the last feature from director Lynne Ramsay, the haunting We Need to Talk About Kevin. After departing Jane Got a Gun, we’ve been waiting to hear what the director would take on next and today the answer has finally arrived.

Coming out of Cannes, Screen Daily reports that Joaquin Phoenix will lead her new thriller You Were Never Really Here. The story centers around a tormented war veteran with a troubled past. He takes it upon himself now to rescue women trafficked into the sex trade. However, “when the extraction of a girl from a Manhattan brothel goes wrong, a storm of violence and corrupt power is unleashed against him, stirring a vengeance that may be his awakening.”

With Ramsay scripting the project herself based on Jonathan Ames‘ novel, it sounds like an extremely promising collaboration with tinges of Taxi Driver. As for Phoenix, he’s on quite a roll, having also booked a major part in Jacques Audiard‘s English-language debut alongside John C. Reilly. As we await more details, check out an expanded synopsis below and pick up the book on Amazon.

You Were Never Really Here

A hero whose favorite weapon is a hammer clearly has issues. Lots of them.

Novelist, essayist, and creator of the beloved HBO series “Bored to Death,” Jonathan Ames is celebrated not only for his comic sensibilities and devotion to the absurd but for his lurid attraction to inner demons. In this shocking and suspenseful new novella, the author goes darker than noir, with an ass-kicking and psychologically tormented guardian angel who rescues others but refuses to save himself.

A former Marine and ex–FBI agent, Joe has seen one too many crime scenes and known too much trauma, and not just in his professional life. Solitary and haunted, he prefers to be invisible. He doesn’t allow himself friends or lovers and makes a living rescuing young girls from the deadly clutches of the sex trade. But when a high-ranking New York politician hires him to extricate his teenage daughter from a Manhattan brothel, Joe uncovers a web of corruption that even he may not be able to unravel. When the men on his trail take the only person left in the world who matters to him, he forsakes his pledge to do no harm. If anyone can kill his way to the truth, it’s Joe.

“You Were Never Really Here” is a tribute to Raymond Chandler and to Donald Westlake and his Parker series, and it testifies to Ames’s versatility and capacity to entertain in any medium or genre. A character for the ages, Joe shows us, with every bent cop, junkie, and pimp he confronts, that it’s hard to be an angel in a fallen world.

Have you read the book? Are you looking forward to their collaboration?

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