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“Killer Joe” – Review (POSITIVE)

August 26, 2012

I think the last [recent] William Friedkin film I saw was “Bug”, and I don’t really remember if I liked it or hated it, perhaps I should revisit that movie. Nevertheless, it feels like Friedkin’s presence in the world of cinema has somewhat been slacking; this is the man behind “The French Connection” “The Exorcist” for god sakes! Earlier this year I read that he was releasing a new film, more importantly an NC-17 rated crime thriller, starring Matthew McConaughey, and with NO intention to lower the rating to an R. That caught my attention, since many filmmakers who’re slapped with an NC-17 have no choice but to reduce to an R rating. Only very few directors have the artistic integrity to keep that infamous NC-17 rating.

The buzz behind “Killer Joe” is palpable, no question. It’s the most violent, darkly comedic, twisted, and hard to watch at times crime film of the year. It’s filled with strong performances from all around, notably McConaughey & Gina Gershon. “Killer Joe” also proves to us all that William Friedkin hasn’t lost his touch, even if the plot may be too colorful for the timid.

Texas drug dealer Chris (Emile Hirsch) has his stash of drugs stolen from him by his mother, he has to come up with six grand quick, or he’s a dead man. Desperate, he goes to the trailer park to see his father, Ansel (Thomas Hayden Church), and he lays out a simple plan. Chris’ mother, who everyone hates, has a life insurance policy that would clear up his debt and make all everyone rich. The problem is that Chris’ mother is very much alive. In comes Detective Joe Cooper (McConaughey), but known to very few as Killer Joe. Joe is a hired hit man with the manners of a Southern gentleman, who will do the job – for an upfront fee, that Chris and Ansel can’t pay. Just as Joe is about to leave, he catches his eye on Dottie (Juno Temple), Chris’ innocent younger sister. Joe makes Chris an offer, he’ll keep Dottie as sexual collateral until the money is collected and his fee can be paid.  If only it were that simple…

This is the performance of McConaughey’s career; everything he’s done has been built up to this movie, in my fair opinion. For the large majority of the film he’s playing off as that typical McConaughey way, which plays to a great advantage for the build up to the climactic final twenty minutes of the film, which I can guarantee you all you will be disgusted, violated, and finally find yourself laughing. If anything, the movie will ruin KFC chicken for you for a very VERY long time.

“Killer Joe”, maybe one of my top favorite films of the year, it’s got the classic elements that make a great cult dark crime drama hit. It has the captivating/memorable performance by a well-respected lead, it makes the best of the location the film is set in, the side characters are deemed quotable for years to come, and has an ending that’ll rile up so many film lovers out there. I just love that ending; the ending really makes the movie satisfying as a viewing experience. It’s just good old fashion a totally twisted deep-fried Texas southern redneck kind of experience, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

GRADE: A

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