Killer Joe - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Killer Joe Reviews

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Super Reviewer
September 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.
September 18, 2015
Despite all the great actors chewing up the scenery here, this film proves to be a lurid tale that descends into violence. Although William Friedkin used to be one of the great directors in Hollywood (think "The Exorcist" and the "French Connection", just to name a couple), I don't think that he really hits the mark here at all. It seems to lack any sense of humor (except for Thomas Haden Church, who also hits the comic mark).
September 17, 2015
Despite all the great actors chewing up the scenery here, this film proves to be a lurid tale that descends into violence. Although William Friedkin used to be one of the great directors in Hollywood (think "The Exorcist" and the "French Connection", just to name a couple), I don't think that he really hits the mark here at all. It seems to lack any sense of humor (except for Thomas Haden Church, who also hits the comic mark).
½ September 14, 2015
The acting boosts up this rating as the movie itself is one of those movies about poor white trash doing poor, white trashy things in Texas like living in trailer parks, pimping out your sister, and generally just looking dirty and trashy throughout. There are some very NC-17ish scenes that really earn this rating. Gina Gershon providing fellatio on a KFC chicken leg comes to mind. And Juno Temple's bush. File this under weird but probably worth a viewing.
½ September 7, 2015
A messed-up movie -- good, but disturbing.
August 14, 2015
Slightly comic in its approach, it can be quite brutal at times too, with Matthew McConaughey really enjoying his unlikeable character and letting loose on everyone else with him.
July 31, 2015
Matthew McConaughey is a revelation in this twisted dark comic thriller that ranks with the Coen Brothers "Fargo" & "Blood Simple"!
½ July 26, 2015
What a strange film. I couldn't make out the style: the wooden acting, the bizarre 'comedy' moments. I think it was perhaps taking the piss out of a certain genre I'm unfamiliar with. I wasn't bored, though, just fascinated at such a strange style of film with peculiar attempts at comedy.
July 23, 2015
The most fucked-up movie I've ever seen.
½ July 11, 2015
Sick, twisted, wrong and funny. We should be ashamed. Tracy Letts' finally translates one of his unexpectedly successful plays to a film script. And if any filmmaker is up for the challenge of translating -- it is William Friedkin. His best film in a very long time. All of the performances are pitch-perfect, but Gina Gershon deserves a great deal of credit for finding a way to be both realistic and tragically funny. Satire seldom gets this grim and twisted --- and actually works.
July 5, 2015
weird and unusual but magnetically mesmerizing
July 5, 2015
If I'd known this was a Friedkin movie I probably wouldn't have bothered, the man hasn't made a decent film in 30 odd years. This is a real turkey (and I'm not just referring to the Kentuck Fried Felatio scene). It's not funny at all and is basically just a trashy film about trashy people. Even the half-arsed psychic bit is just boring.
½ June 18, 2015
dark gritty and set in tuscany ah i mean texas with lots of nudity and matthew mc conaughey theres only a handful of characters in this infact i think i read somewhere its adapted from a play all the characters are pretty awful poeple in one way of another except dottie played by juno temple who does full frontal nudity she looks about 15 in this but is actually early 20s when this was made .matthew mcConaughey buttox .hum its defo worth a watch alright.
June 11, 2015
Finally got around to checking this one out and I gotta say that considering the NC-17 rating, I was expecting things to go much further and more over-the-top than they ultimately did (about the only thing the was truly shocking to me was the now-infamous chicken leg scene); of course, the fact that I'm somewhat hardened in my movie-watching habits probably made this easier for me take and enjoy so there is that to consider as well. Even so, there is still enough graphic violence, kinky sex, depravity, craziness and dark comedy to hold the attention of anyone who can appreciate this kind of modern-day exploitation fare and to earn the ire and contempt of more timid and conservative filmgoers. One benefit of having a plot like this that is so rife with insanity is that there is no way to predict where this is all headed which serves to heighten the levels of tension and suspense alongside the twisted, jet-black humor herein. Ultimately, the film rewards us with a violent, contentious and delightfully open-ended finale. Besides all of this, the first rate cast is also another huge plus in this film's favor and no one shines brighter than Matthew McConaughey. I think it's safe to say that between this and The Lincoln Lawyer, I am now fully convinced of this man's talent to do something far more than coast by in one forgettable romantic comedy after the other. Although a case could be made that he was still mining familiar territory with The Lincoln Lawyer (the role could basically be considered a throwback to his breakthrough part back in 1996's A Time To Kill, albeit an older, more cynical and world-weary version of that character) with this assignment, he manages to effectively step outside of his usual persona to essay what has to be the darkest, most twisted character of his career. For his part, he is still as charming and charismatic as ever but there is always a sense of malevolence and menace underneath the cool and smooth exterior that comes out in the most shocking of ways from time to time (such as the chicken leg scene). I never thought in a million years that I would ever say this but I would argue for an Oscar-nomination here although the controversial nature of the movie and the role will rule that out (if a nomination for McConaughey is likely at all at this point, it would probably be for Magic Mike, which I've yet to see but might need to check out now, God help me). The rest of the cast doesn't quite reach McConaughey's level but they do their best to hold their own. Thomas Hayden Church brings a understated, dry wit to his role as the dim-witted Ansel (kinda like his character in Sideways but with a Texas drawl and a dimmer mental capacity), and Emilie Hirsch gives a reasonable approximation of desperation for his part as Chris, whose drug money debt provides the catalyst for the chaos in which we find ourselves here (to compare to some of Hirsch's previous roles, this one is much closer to Alpha Dog than to The Girl Next Door). Gina Gershon doesn't have as much to do except act slutty and trashy (such as in her memorable introductory scene) and get seriously degraded in one scene, but it's always nice to see Gershon on screen (and she is still incredibly attractive despite now being officially a pentagenarian). I would say that the second strongest impression besides McConaughey is made by the young British actress and rising starlet, Juno Temple, as Dottie, Chris's younger sister (and Ansel's daughter). Temple kinda resembles a blonde and slightly curvier version of Ellen Page (who incidentally once played a fictional character with Temple's real-life first name) but her performance here reminded me more of Juliette Lewis's Oscar-nominated breakthrough role in Scorsese's Cape Fear remake (this was back when Lewis showed legitimate promise as an actress). As Temple's career develops, one can only hope that the trajectory is more like Page's and less like Lewis's but for the time being, there is plenty of promise here. Not only does she don an incredibly sexy and nearly flawless (at least from my perspective) Texan accent but she effectively brings out both the vixen and the virgin in her portrayal. It takes a great director to hold this all together and William Friedkin has proven himself over his decade-long career to be just that. This may not be up to the same level as The French Connection or To Live and Die in L.A. but it's provides more than enough evidence that this veteran filmmaker's edge hasn't dulled with age. Despite the Hollywood A-list credentials, this is definitely *not* mainstream fair but if you're a fan of ultra-hip, Southern-fried, post-Tarantino comedy/thrillers that aren't afraid to let it all hang out, you will find that this provides plenty of lurid and trashy thrills. It may not be edifying but it's damn entertaining!
June 9, 2015
The kind of film that makes you want to spray napalm on the trailer parks of America. Of course it was filmed on the West Bank.
½ May 17, 2015
So strange and some times hilarious. Matthew mcconaughey gives a wonderful performance as one of the most complex character I've ever seen.
This is a awesome film
May 15, 2015
Oh my. That is one hell of a dark comedy. Some really great stuff in here.
May 9, 2015
So many great actors... such a horrible film. Juno Temple's character is the only one with even a glimmer of redeeming quality, and I spent most of the movie wishing everyone would just kill each other and get it over with. Everyone and everything is trash and there is not enough plot to make it palatable.
May 7, 2015
Definitely not for the faint hearted, if you want to truly lose yourself and love surprises give this a go.

This film stands alone, I haven't seen anything similar before, but I will stop short of using the word refreshing, because that describes a sweet beverage which this movie most certainly is not.
½ April 29, 2015
Great indie flick with strong performances from Matthew McConaughey and Gina Gershon.
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