You will have heard of one-hit wonders in the pop charts.

Joe stars Hollywood’s equivalent, a homeless man inspiring best actor Oscar winner Nicolas Cage to up his game.

It’s a fantastic story of destiny finally calling for a drifter who had long wanted to become an actor.

Except that Gary Poulter was found dead two months after shooting wrapped, a victim of the alcoholic, hard-living, cancer-ridden existence he had somehow put behind him while on set.

He mysteriously drowned in shallow water and his passing is echoed in the type of film this is.

Based on Larry Brown’s 1991 novel, it’s the story of an ex-con called Joe (Nicolas Cage) who poisons trees to create better woodland stock.

He takes on a teenage boy called Gary, but in the background lurks the unpredictable Wade (aka G-Daawg) played by Poulter) and several other short-fuse characters with long memories.

Forget Ghost Rider and Drive Angry, Cage hasn’t been this good in years – yet his reward is a limited nationwide release.

Clearly motivated by Poulter’s extraordinarily natural screen presence, Cage looks dangerous again.

Similarly, director David Gordon Green has ditched nonsense films like Pineapple Express and Your Highness in order to return to his career roots espoused by George Washington (2000).

Recent companion movies for Joe would include Gran Torino, Blue Ruin and Out of the Furnace, but its closest modern relative is Jennifer Lawrence’s Winter’s Bone.

The pace is slow and not much happens, but you could almost feel drunk on its what-will-happen-next atmosphere and decaying post-industrialist structures.

Now 17, Texan star Tye Sheridan is a real bonus as the kid Gary.

In his first three movies, he’s starred alongside best actor Oscar winners in The Tree of Life (Sean Penn), Mud (Matthew McConaughey) and now Cage. Talk about limitless potential..