Last night I went to see William Friedkin’s Killer Joe. Nearly 12 hours later I’m still scrambling at the thoughts around what I witnessed.
The film starts off with Chris (Emile Hirsch), a down in the dumps drug dealer who owes a dangerous man a lot of money. When Chris is kicked out of his mother’s house yet again, he seeks the help of his father, Ansel (Thomas Haden Church) to plot her death. Chris blames his mother for stealing his coke and getting him into his financial situation so after hearing that she has a 50,000 life insurance policy, the scheming begins.
Chris doesn’t think he can kill her himself without raising suspicion so he hears about a guy named Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey). Joe is a cop who does professional killing on the side. After convincing Ansel that Joe is the way to go, the two plan to meet up with him to discuss the arrangement.
Joe goes to the family’s home and meets Chris’ sister, Dottie (Juno Temple). Dottie is virgin-ally pure, sweet and adorable girl packaged into an off little odd-ball. She intrigues Joe and he’s instantly mystified by her.
Joe tells Chris and Ansel that he wants the money upfront or no deal. The two were planning on paying him after they cashed in the insurance money so they find themselves stuck. When Joe proposes a “retainer” to do the job, he decides that he wants Dottie. Chris and his father don’t feel good about the exchange but they can’t help but think it’s a small price to pay to get the insurance money.
From this point on the film spirals out of control. The plot progresses to an extreme level of twists, crazy violence and comical moments.
The entire cast of this film is stunning. The performances by McConaughey, Hirsch, Church, Temple and the step-mother played by Gina Gershon are electric.
McConaughey’s take on Joe is chilling and sadistic. He’s mild-manner but at the same time would brutalize anyone that got into his way. He completely scared the crap out of me.
When I walked out of the theater with my friends my first words were “I need to wrap my mind around that.” And as of now I’m still trying to do that. I can say that I thought Killer Joe was a powerful film that plays with the elements of an edgy dark comedy.
This is definitely not a movie for the average Joe (see what I did there?) but I think it proudly earned it’s N-17 rating. I do feel like this could end up being another one of Friedkin’s underrated gems so if you get a chance to catch this film, I highly recommend it.