Killer Joe 2012

Killer Joe

Critics Consensus

Violent, darkly comic, and full of strong performances, Killer Joe proves William Friedkin hasn't lost his touch, even if the plot may be too lurid for some.

79%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 170

61%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 80,190

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Movie Info

A cop (Matthew McConaughey) who moonlights as a hit man agrees to kill the hated mother of a desperate drug dealer (Emile Hirsch) in exchange for a tumble with the young man's virginal sister (Juno Temple).

Cast & Crew

Matthew McConaughey
"Killer" Joe Cooper
Emile Hirsch
Chris Smith
Juno Temple
Dottie Smith
Gina Gershon
Sharla Smith
Marc Macaulay
Digger Soames
Gregory C. Bachaud
Filpatrick
Tracy Letts
Screenwriter
Christopher Woodrow
Executive Producer
Molly Conners
Executive Producer
Vicki Cherkas
Executive Producer
Zev Foreman
Executive Producer
Caleb Deschanel
Cinematographer
Darrin Navarro
Film Editor
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News & Interviews for Killer Joe

Critic Reviews for Killer Joe

All Critics (170) | Top Critics (47) | Fresh (135) | Rotten (35)

  • If you like your movies filled with twisted humor, sexual perversion, psychological intimidation and sudden violence, "Killer Joe" is the flick for you.

    August 31, 2012 | Rating: B | Full Review…

    Tom Long

    Detroit News
    Top Critic
  • Watching "Killer Joe" to the bitter end is like playing the Pick 6 lottery and getting three of the numbers right. You don't win anything, but you still think you're smarter than all those other idiots.

    August 24, 2012 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • [Friedkin] has retained his touch ... all these years later. And in Matthew McConaughey, he has the perfect vehicle for madness.

    August 23, 2012 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • You end up feeling sorry for all the actors forced to humiliate themselves, except for McConaughey, whose portrayal of sadistic, manipulative evil is mesmerizing.

    August 23, 2012 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • The movie frequently clicks as a sendup of over-the-top film-noir storytelling.

    August 16, 2012 | Rating: 2.5/4
  • If y'all like your comedy with a Lone Star drawl and as black as Texas tea, then by all means tuck right into Killer Joe.

    August 10, 2012 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Killer Joe

  • Jun 17, 2020
    'Killer Joe' is a seedy, Southern noir stocked with repulsive, selfish, often dim-witted characters. This is a tricky recipe to get right, and I'm still not even sure if director William Friedkin was trying to get it right. Handfuls of it felt like an exercise in cruel outrageousness, seeing how ploddingly far something could be taken just to make the viewer uncomfortable. And while these won't be THE most shocking moments you'll ever see in a movie, 'Joe' left a sour taste in my mouth that will be hard to top, especially in the final act. Out of all the actors, bravely committing to what they've been written, Emile Hirsch came off the weakest because of his stagey delivery. I had a very difficult time finding any of these characters compelling and truly investing in their plight, not even in a deliciously depraved kind of way. Something tells me that this story probably worked better as a play. But as a film where every shot is framed knowingly, its centerpiece scenes reek of hollow sadism.
    Marisol M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 06, 2017
    On the one hand, Killer Joe does get better as it progresses, but on the other, it's also the first Friedkin movie I haven't loved.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • May 17, 2016
    A nasty southern tale of all the taboo subject. Killer Joe is a almost an homage to Fargo (but much darker) about a hired gunman to create insurance fraud gone wrong. There was not a single likeable character in this depressing tale of depravity, it was surprising to see McConaughey playing the villain though. It makes us laugh at the uncomfortable situation with the sophistication, but you certainly don't want to watch it again.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Sep 18, 2015
    A young drug dealer falls into debt, so he trades his sister for the services of a hitman, who will kill his mother for insurance money. Tracy Letts and William Friedkin follow up their relentless, paranoid thriller Bug with an even more relentless thriller in Killer Joe. Like Bug, it's almost impossible to tell where the plot is going, yet each turn is logical and character-driven. The action moments seem shoe-horned in, but the interactions between the characters are profoundly disturbing and occasionally disarmingly funny. The performances by Matthew McConaughey (the first film in his insurgence toward Oscar-worthy work), Emile Hirsch, Thomas Haden Church, Juno Temple, and Gina Gershon are all fantastic. Hirsch and Temple are especially good with characters stripped of dignity and gazing wide-eyed at the world's depravity. Overall, Letts and Friedkin are great together, and Killer Joe is a wonderfully disturbing follow-up.
    Jim H Super Reviewer

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