Killer Joe (2011)
Director: William Friedkin
Screenplay by: Tracy Letts (based on his play of the same name)
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church, Gina Gershon and Marc Macaulay
Tagline: A totally twisted deep-fried Texas redneck trailer park murder story.
The Overview: Beware of spoilers…
Chris Smith (Hirsch) is debt to Digger Soames (Macaulay) to the tune of $6 grand. If Chris doesn’t raise the cash soon, he’s a dead man. Then Chris gets the idea to have his mother killed for her life insurance. Chris talks to his dad, Angel (Church), who quickly comes on board. He has no love for is ex-wife, but plenty of love for the idea of quick cash. Likewise, Angel’s wife (Gershon) is in. The tough sell is going to be Dottie (Temple), Chris’ sister. They’re right, it takes about a minute for Dottie to like the idea.
Chris and Angel know of a hitman called Killer Joe (McConaughey). Killer Joe agrees to the hit, for $25,000 paid up front. When Chris and Angel can’t come up with the money, Killer Joe agrees to keep Dottie as a retainer. As the time for the hit gets closer, Joe’s relationship with Dottie takes a turn. Chris begins to have doubts about the plan, but it’s too late… too late for a lot of folks.
Killer Joe is a surprisingly dark, violent, funny (at times) tale of murder for hire. It is well written, well cast and well directed. Thomas Haden Church plays the stupidest man in one of the stupidest families I’ve ever seen. I like the twist in regard to who started the idea of the hitman murder. With that said, I’m rating Killer Joe just 2 of 5 stars. There’s a scene involving Angel’s wife, a fried chicken leg and Killer Joe that goes way over the line. Killer Joe was released with an NC-17 rating for “graphic disturbing content involving violence and sexuality, and a scene of brutality.” This is a movie that divides audiences. I can see why people would really like it, and also why people would be turned off to it. That’s not a bad thing, just be aware that your mileage may vary.
Killer Joe rates 2 of 5 stars.