Killer Joe (2012)

December 05, 2012 By Mike B
Movie Review

Killer Joe Film Review

What Worked?

The world is full of crazy psychopaths that are interestingly devious; all monsters are interesting, as long as they never leave the imprisonment of celluloid. William Friedkin, the Oscar-winning director of the Exorcist and the French Connection, gives us a tale of a family with a broken morality and a heart made of fried chicken with Killer Joe. Matthew McConaughey, Juno Temple and Emile Hirsch star in this insane tale of a dysfunctional family in Texas.

Friedkin is a director that knows how to grab your attention, and balance it on a sharp needle. In his latest film, the story and characters are just so despicable, with a few  moments of humanity, that you can’t turn away. Friedkin doesn’t whole back, as the tension rises in this maddeningly humorous tale of a family trying to get their mother killed for her money. The double-crossing and filthy acts fill the screen in bloody glory, while the slimy characters shine. This script steps on toes with steel boots, and Friedkin doesn’t hold anything back.

Usually you’ll find Matthew McConaughey doing another tired Romantic Comedy, but every once in awhile he’ll show his acting chops and give you something fierce. McConaughey has a sickening magnetism as Killer Joe, a corrupt detective that kills people as a side job. Joe is just so politely menacing, and sex-crazed that you can see it oozing out of McConaughey’s eyes. McConaughey is a monster in this film that just doesn’t let up, and he gives a performance that stays with you more than anything else in the film. There have been many sadistic bastards on-screen, and in the past few years, none have really grabbed us by throat quite like Matthew McConaughey as Joe Cooper aka Killer Joe. It’s his film, and he never lets you forget about that.

All the supporting cast do a tremendous job to surround McConaughey, but Juno Temple as Dottie puts in just a little more effort than the rest. Dottie is the youngest of the family, a virgin, and becomes the “retainer” for Killer Joe when the family can’t seem to come up with the cash in time. Temple resembles the broken down Dottie very well, as her innocence slowly peels back to reveal a pent up rage she’s been developing since day one.

Killer Joe is a film that’s not for everyone, but if you have the ability to enjoy weird films that are morally ambiguous, this is a film to see. If you’re a McConaughey fan, this is far from his typical role, but it’s a performance that will be remembered down the road. The film reminds us just how corrupt our souls can become, and how far we can take that corruption before our conscience reaches the front of the bus.

Potential Drawbacks:

There are many things that many people will dislike about this film. The acts of these characters are immoral and unjust in so many ways. If that isn’t something you can stomach, this film will be torture to watch.

In addition, this is an NC-17 film for a reason, so there are some sickening moments where characters will perform acts that are bloody, sick or both. The film doesn’t really take anything easily.

Film Recommendations:

American Psycho

 Bad Lieutenant

Red State



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