Directed by William Friedkin
Killer Joe is the work of Pulitzer Prize winnig playwright Tracy Letts. It centers on the very dysfunctional Smith family. Led by Chris Smith (Emile Hirsch) who is in debt to some mafia types. He hatches a plan to have his abusive mother killed for insurance money. He brings his father (Thomas Hayden Church) into the fold. Unknown to Chris' sleazy step mother (Gina Gershon), his father agrees. Chris then hires "Killer" Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) to do the dirty work for him. Things don't got to plan for Chris and, he doesn't have the money to pay Joe for his "Services". Joe decides to take Chris' sister, Dottie (Juno Temple) as a retainer. Things just go downhill from there. Killer Joe got a lot of buzz close to release. Mainly due to the NC-17 rating it got from the MPAA. The rating was really due to one scene in particular involving a piece of fried chicken. I will leave it at that and let your imagination go where you want it to. I really thought that McConaughey would steal the show with his performance of Joe. Sadly, it was flat and underwhelming. Directed by legendary film maker William Friedkin (The Exorcist), Killer Joe could have been a very witty dark comedy instead, it underwhelms through most of it. The standout perfomance belongs to Juno Temple as Dottie, she was a big surprise here. Killer Joe wasn't a bad movie per se. It just wasn't very interesting to watch. There were moments where you felt things were building up then, dissapointment. Tracy Letts wrote the screenplay based on his 1991 play. Friedkin and Letts also worked together on the creepy 2006 thriller "Bug". The ending is something to take note of as well, it was horrible. I am all for "make your own conclusion" kind of endings ala Christopher Nolan but, this was horrible. I hated investing my time and emotions only to be left hanging at the end. It felt too much like it was emulating earlier Cohen brother's films like Fargo. Unfortunately, it didn't work very well.
2 out of 5 stars